In a Duet, Frankenthaler and Parrott Show the Past and Future of Stain Painting
Frankenthaler was one of the few women in the said. “But you also have to be ready to hear, ‘I’m finished, don’t add another drop, stop.’ It’s tricky and I think very often one misses the moment.”
Thirty years later, the England-born and based Aimee Parrott uses stain painting in a very different way. Her use of color is spare, as in Fake Slate and Secondary Wrinkles (all works 2014), with their waves of gray paint applied in long, sweeping arcs not unlike Frankenthaler’s wide strokes. Several works use daubs of thin color, dispersed and overlapping, across the canvas’s surface. Crust (Over-lap) and First Hand, Second Hand make only the barest assertions of paint on canvas, emphasizing the artistic choice of every blot. The paint is so thin that it appears spectral, opening up immense visual space in a purely flat canvas. Crust is particularly inventive, adding extra dimensionality through the addition of a thin silk veil,
Staining reduces the physical dimensions of a painted canvas to absolute flatness. But the urgency of visual depth and emotional resonance are consequently heightened. As Frankenthaler and Parrott demonstrate, the fugitive nature of staining engages our desire to pursue.
“Soaked, Not Resting” is on view at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, Jan. 23–Feb. 21, 2015.