Guyton’s ‘X’ paintings assert themselves in a visual environment of mass-produced, instantaneously diffused imagery. But as Guyton acknowledges, the difficulty lies not so much in “saying there’s no such thing as an original image, but knowing full well that it’s not a very original thing to say.”* And so these paintings make reference to an art historical context that includes Frank Stella, Sol Le Witt, Barnett Newman and Jasper Johns.
The paintings are actually printed on linen canvas, which was folded and then repeatedly fed (or forced, pulled, squashed, sometimes yanked) through an inkjet printer and bear the ‘painterly’ effects of mishaps caused by dragging and mis-registration, the uneven build-up of ink. In effect they are monotypes of sorts—prints, called paintings, that are related yet invariably distinct from one another. There are also differences in resolution between the Xs coming directly from the typeface in the Microsoft Word program that created the digital files that produced these images, and those that are scans of his own previous printouts.
The role of chance and accident determine the visual outcome of his works in much the same way that other artists in this exhibition use the internal logic of their materials as parameters that determine their process. Guyton is a self-proclaimed conceptualist, but his work reveals a sensitivity and elegance that trumps painting at its own game.
* Rothkopf, Scott, “Modern Pictures,” in Wade Guyton, Color,
Power & Style (Cologne: Walter König, 2007), p. 74.