By Carly Ayres
Visitors to Nahmad Contemporary this month will be seeing stripes – and lots of them – as the gallery presents ’Origin of Stripes: Paintings from 1965–1966’, a collection of paintings by artist Daniel Buren.
Featuring ten early works by the French artist, the show marks the first display of some of the pieces in the United States – works that illustrate the evolution of the artist’s distinctly colourful practice.
Widely known for his site-specific installations, Buren here shares his painterly origins, the artist’s handmade stripes of enamel paint pulled along cotton canvas bedsheets.
The pieces depict the clear lineage of the artist’s later works – large-scale installations that play with bright, contrasting coloured stripes applied to surfaces and spaces. These formative works paved the way for much of the artist’s later practice, and show the visual foundation of a career that spans over 50 years.
With each of the ten paintings on display, the artist’s hand slowly disappears, visualising Buren’s creative progression. Irregular, meandering lines become standardised vertical bands as he moves from hand-painted stripes to mass-produced textiles, eventually abandoning the canvas entirely.
In the exhibition’s final pieces, even the medium of paint itself is sequestered to the edges, as Buren fully adopts the mechanical perfection of machine-made stripes – a foreshadowing of what was to come.