Hunter Braithwaite, curator of an exhibition at Memphis’s Tops Gallery called “Screen Door,” believes that today’s most interesting artwork engages both the screen and its analog counterpart. “The relationship between a grid (a structuring principle whereby lines intersect to create a bunch of little squares) and a screen (used in the sense of digital mediation, a slick, shiny window onto the world) seems to be one of the central concerns of painting throughout history,” he told Artsy via email.
One of the artists in Braithwaite’s show,
, pointed out that the idea of a grid can be further simplified. Throughout her paintings, colorful lines tangle and flow against more sharply structured borders and patches of flat, even hues. “A grid is just intersecting lines,” she told Artsy
via email. Both grid and line are “ways to organize space, color, and time in a painting,” dictating “how the viewer’s eye moves throughout the composition.”
Working inside or outside the shared structural parameters of the grid, artists make a series of aesthetic choices that lead to personal, deeply individual statements. 21st-century artists use the grid as an organizational tool or the subject of an artwork itself. They follow or rebel against the form, pushing their medium forward by employing an age-old system.