Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fred Sandback

Frederick Lane Sandback. American, 1943–2003. For Matthias Ignaz,1983. Lithograph printed in color on white wove paper. Gift of Carol Ann Osuchowski Selle, class of 1954. Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 1992:39-3.



                                                   “I’m full of thoughts (more or less). My work isn’t.

                                                   It’s not a demonstration of an idea either. It’s an actuality.”

                                                                                                      – Fred Sandback




Minimalist artist Fred Sandback is known for his ephemeral sculptures made from acrylic yarn. The taut yarn strings – often stretching from floor to ceiling, ceiling to wall, or wall to floor – create delicate and playful forms that change the way a viewer sees, perceives, and moves about the space. Sandback’s yarn constructions are essentially drawings in space – free-floating lines which have jumped beyond the confines of paper.


Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Sandback translated his spatial ideas from three to two dimensions using the visual and technical capabilities unique to printmaking. Apparent iterations of his sculptures, Sandback’s prints present floating lines which interact with the whole sheet of paper similarly to how his yarn lines interact with the space of an entire room. This can be seen in Sandback’s 1983 lithograph For Matthias Ignaz(made in honor of his then-newborn son), in which the artist printed the blue-green negative space right to the paper’s edge, leaving only the subtle white lines unprinted and exposed. This print confuses and challenges our notions of two-dimensional foreground and background. Here, both elements are of equal importance: the “space” of the paper’s colored expanse and the lithographic line.


While the large scale of Sanback’s yarn sculptures subtly alter or interrupt the viewers’ space, the comparatively miniscule size (11 by 9 inches) of For Matthias Ignazcreates an incredibly intimate relationship between the work and the viewer. Drawn into the paper’s peculiar blue-green “space,” close looking reveals that the lithographic lines are not entirely crisp – in fact, their fuzzy character curiously alludes to the tactile quality of his three-dimensional yarn lines.



                              Detail of Sandback’s For Matthias Ignazshowing lithographic line.





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