Six Columns, 2006

Basel 2016
David Zwirner
Installation
polyester resin, fiberglass, and plywood
John McCracken occupies a singular position within the recent history of American art, as his work melds the restrained formal qualities of Minimalism with a distinctly West Coast sensibility expressed through color, form, and finish. He developed his sculptural work in the late 1950s and early 1960s and began producing objects using industrial materials, including plywood, sprayed lacquer, and pigmented resin. Six Columns is comprised of similar, but slightly differently sized columns, each made using a unique shade of black. McCracken used color as a ‘material,’ and the highly saturated monochromatic surfaces of his works were sanded and polished to produce such a high degree of reflectiveness that they simultaneously activate their surroundings and appear translucent. Here, the color is saturated to the extent that each column acquires a dense, self-contained appearance that gains a singular and almost otherworldly quality, at once physical and immaterial. The notion of grouping six columns in a grid was introduced in the artist’s sketchbook in the early 1970s, but was not realized in sculptural form until 2006.