polyester resin, fiberglass and plywood
David Zwirner, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Known for reducing forms to their most basic geometry and for treating color as a material in its own right, John McCracken creates works that are an alternative to an oversaturated world of images and pictures. At the beginning of his career in the 1960s, McCracken's attention to simple composition and minimalist configuration was perhaps, in essence, a reaction to Pop, the most pervasive style at the time.
Like his California contemporaries such as Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, and James Turrell, McCracken was interested in industrial techniques and a post-studio fabrication practice, although he approached these shared perceptual concerns with particular physicality. McCracken's bold, often primary, colors, with their high gloss finishes and reflective surfaces function, despite their imposing size, as voids, as experiences of sensory deprivation and tautology: what you see is what you get. Slight variations in dimension and color differentiate the otherwise serialized works.
While McCracken's use of plywood, fiberglass, and resin is almost identical to that of surfboard production, the results bear much more resemblance to automobiles, a similarly fetishized totem of his native Southern California. Unlike many of his pieces, which leaned against gallery and museum walls – a groundbreaking gesture in itself – the present work, Dimension, executed in 2004, is freestanding at 93 inches high. With its large scale, the work shadows the viewer and its upright position mirrors our reflection, forcing us to both peer in and stand back. This is a sculpture that, despite its almost aggressive lack of focus point, invites circumnavigation, interaction, and contemplation. Although the forms are basic, the sides identical, and the surfaces unblemished, they urge us to ruminate upon our most opaque and seemingly impenetrable thoughts.
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