Artist: Amy Sillman

Looking through the book:
Smith, V. & Sillman, Amy, 2019. Amy Sillman, London: Lund Humphries.

Sillman mentions the thin line in her work between drawing and painting. Sometimes it is hard to find distinction between the two.
Sillman works a lot in ink, then in these big colour canvases as do I. Her material uses and technique was the reason I was drawn to her work.


^ The mass of lines on the right top interests me. It looks like a mass of vines, and there is something – a person? a limb? emerging out of it.
Layers of paint producing a structure that things can go in and out of.
It is like that mass of paint is someones inner experience recorded through paint, and outside of that is another landscape. The viewer is the onlooker.
I am suddenly thinking about the edges of my recorded experiences. If you zoomed out of my paintings what would you see? Digital mock up idea:

^ My inner experience: painting that surrounds me on all sides… like an instillation…
Outside of that it is….. just the landscape again.

She produced ‘a stop-motion animation that recorded the live manipulation of ink drawings and cutouts.’ Called Triscuits (2010). P.45
What if I did a stop motion thing with ink in which you are shown around the structure space?
I watched Sillman’s video. It’s playful. The use of text popping up as a monologue is interesting.
I want to try this.
A very playful act.


^ The yellow scraping is like a screen. Like some semi transparent fabric half covering the scene that is behind. How would this kind of mark change my lived perspective landscapes?
I think Gerhard Richter does this a lot. I need to look at his work anyway.
The painting reminds me of a painting by Howard Hodgkins, this one:

Image result for howard hodgkins lines across canvas
Howard Hodgkin
Oil paint on wood

Both paintings use different materials and techniques that do something similar: separate the viewer from part of the painting by putting a ‘paint screen’ up.
It is an extremely material feature – the flatness of the canvas and the nature of the medium is celebrated.
But in contrast to this, the depth of the scene in the painting is made clear and then the viewer is denied access to. it
The juxtaposition of the flatness of the canvas and the depth of the image is pushed to an extreme here. This is very interesting.
A bit like the structures I paint? (But less extreme). The lines of the structure are both very flat and also create an illusion of depth and space.

Sillman’s work is more interesting to me as a formalist material inspiration, than some conceptual work as well.
I am reading bits of the essay in the book I have on her but nothing is interesting me, other than the notes I’ve made here.

I prefer Sillman’s looser work. The stuff where she hasn’t boxed in shapes, but where the marks feel more immediate and less thought through and re-worked.


I like the contrast between biiig blocks on the right with the gestural busy marks on the left. The right side of the painting is set and resolved and seperate from the human action that made it, whilst the left side immediate and busy and confusing and reminds me of the human act that created the marks.
The edge of the busy marks on the right as the edge of the woodland, either to the sky or to open landscape. This is an interesting idea.
This would introduce something new into my paintings.

From online:

She makes zines!:

In conclusion:

This book has surpised me! It has made me dig deep into my practice; the mediums I use, painting with a Greenberg formalist approach, and the flow into instillation work…

It is also nice to see work by a female!
Ideas formed whilst looking at Sillman’s work feel like I am going in the direction of instillation! That’s new. I am going with my flow of thinking, which seems to have a mind of its own sometimes.
Interesting to look at her work and find conclusions which don’t match Sillman’s own conceptual thoughts. I have taken the bits of her work seem relevant – the material qualities, and left the stuff I wasn’t interested in – the conceptual side to her work. I have been looking at her work and thinking about it as I see it, not as I read about it.

Looking at Sillman’s work has left me with things to think about going forward. Summary list of those things are:
– Zooming out of one’s painted lived experience, to see it’s surroundings. Which leads to instillation work of the painting and structure in the zoomed out landscape.
– Scraping residue action paint layer which builds a screen. How would this mark change my paintings?

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