DNA: Transition: Major, 2018

Basel 2018
Massimo De Carlo
Work on Paper
Oil paint stick and collaged paper on board
548.6 x 243.8 x 5.4 (厘米)
216.0 x 96.0 x 2.1 (吋)
This painting is part of McArthur Binion’s DNA series (2013–ongoing). In each of these works the artist blends private documents, such as negatives of his birth certificate (which references the situation of many that, like him, were born in rural communities and whose births were never recorded) with handwritten pages of his old phone books (where names from the past such as ‘Mary Boone’ and ‘Basquiat’ evoke the 1970s and 80s New York art scene). They are covered with layers of painted grids that conceal and at the same time introduce the narrative element of his practice. The use of personal documents asserts the artist’s own existence and the layers of paint encompass his experience in the art world in America. The surfaces of the canvases are replete with abstract shapes and motives: The artist’s archival belongings, that can only be seen when in very close physical proximity to the canvas, are transformed by the paintbrush into textured patterns to reflect upon the influence of Modernism on his practice. Curator Lowery Stokes Sims once described his DNA series as ‘notions of self-awareness and self-discovery, a conscious reflection on himself and to the historical discourse he has contributed to.’