Three Stripes from 1965 represents a unique and experimental moment in McEwen's oeuvre, a progressive period during which he challenged himself creatively by integrating acrylic paint into his practice, an experiment that worked to very successful effect.
As Constance Norbert-Riser notes, the inherently matte acrylic paint used through the centre of the composition "introduces a tension-producing variable that increases the vibration of the surface and accentuates the iridescent effects" of the contrasting, layered side stripes.
The inscription on the reverse is from a poem by Théophile Gauthier (1811-1872) entitled "L'Art" from Emaux et Camées (1852).
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