Artists

[Robert Irwin] came to think of paintings as showing two faces, one as interpretable image and another as physical presence, and he saw the former as bleeding the intensity of the latter. To the extent that a canvas could be subsumed as a painting of something, it was no longer being confronted as an energy field in its own right. And what Irwin was increasingly after was this pure physicality.

…[Irwin noted:] “When you stop giving [the late line paintings] a literate or articulate read (the kind of read you give a Renaissance painting) and instead look at them perceptually, you find that your eye ends up suspended in mid-air, mid-space, or mid-stride: both time and space blend into a continuum. You lose your bearings for a moment. … The thing is you cease reading and you cease articulating and you fall into a state where nothing else is going on but the tactile, experimental process.

“…When I look at the world now, my posture is not one of focus but rather of attention.”

Lawrence Weschler, Robert Irwin / MATRIX 15 catalog essay, University Art Museum (now BAM/PFA), October 1, 1978 – December 31, 1978

Lawrence Weschler’s catalog essay for Robert Irwin’s MATRIX 15 project at BAM/PFA in 1978

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