Matthew Davis - Kustodiev, published by DCV

 by David Lillington, 2020

All this is much more, I think, than extended metaphors ... These bubbles are beings in every (in their own) respect. Instructive in the highest degree. They rise in revolt from the earth, and take you with them. New qualities, unforeseen, until now unknown, ignored, are added to the known to constitute the perfection and particularity of a being-in-every-respect. Thus they escape being symbols. And their aspect changes. It no longer concerns an aspect of usefulness, or serviceability to man. Instead of their serving for something, it concerns a creation and no longer an explanation. There is something more in the conclusion than in the premises, because some premise was added which, mysteriously, managed to curl the sphere, completely curve it, and allowed it to detach itself and fly away.

And the feeling of happiness that their sight stirs in man is not deceptive: he is happy because he has gained something.

Francis Ponge, Soap, 1969 (Le Savon, 1967)1

Toute idée, humaine ou divine,
Qui prend le passé pour racine,
A pour feuillage l'avenir.

Victor Hugo, Fonction du Poète, 1840 2
(Every idea, human or divine, which takes the past as its root, has the future as its leaves.)

Light is the heroine of all the paintings,
The camera is the hero of the screen.

Delmore Schwartz, Genesis I, 1943 3

This essay addresses one aspect of Matthew Davis’s painting: the extent to which its subject is painting itself. Since I think this is the most important aspect of his work, this is already a large subject. The discussion is slightly confused by the following consideration: that while an aspect of any painting is that it is about painting itself and while contemporary painting has to a great extent and for a long time been about painting, there is nevertheless now an attempt amongst artists to embrace a new romanticism, to try to return to a painting that is not dependent on irony or allusiveness, or bound up with ‘criticality’. This began in the 1990s and has proved difficult, and that difficulty has given us new theoretical viewpoints, such as those of Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker, who argue that we are in ‘metamodern’ times. If we say, foolishly perhaps, that there are two types of painting, those that are engaged in a critique of painting, and those that are trying to return to an idea of authenticity (a romantic idea of painting), then Davis’s painting–like that of many other artists–is both. In fact, it is exemplary. Like other painters, he is interested in the process of painting itself and in asking how a painting is made and what it is. And he is interested in ‘the difficulty painting has now in embracing a new romanticism.’ 4

Louis Marin in To Destroy Painting (1977) discusses Michael Fried. ‘The main thrust of Fried’s argument is that all paintings, particularly representational ones, are implicitly if not explicitly self-critical.’ A little earlier in the paragraph Fried is quoted as saying, ‘the arts–painting especially–have never been more explicitly self-critical than during the past twenty years.’ That was written in 1965, which takes us back to 1945. (Whether the end of the war is significant I do not know. It may be.) So the issue is not new. Marin’s text is a complex discussion of the work and ideas of Poussin and Caravaggio, in relation to this question of what Fried calls art’s ‘self-criticality’. Painting has always been ‘self-critical’. It is a given that all art must to an extent be about art itself. ‘The camera is hero of the screen’, as Delmore Schwartz says. After 1945, we can say, its inclination to self-analysis increases, and in the 60s and 70s self-analysis becomes the primary content and subject of serious art. Artists have since the 1990s been trying to get beyond this post-war era of ‘self-reflexive’ work, and in particular beyond the kind of art-about-art of the 1970s. I think Davis is less concerned with 70s conceptualism and the like, and more concerned with the underlying ‘self-criticality’ that Fried identified as an issue for painting throughout the 50s and 60s. What ought to be added at the end of all this is that artists are finding the ‘getting beyond’ difficult. Hence we have theorists such as Vermeulen and van den Akker, who propose ‘metamodernism’ as a description of current cultural attitudes.

The history of painting is a nice area for an artist to work in, as a source for content, because it is so specific. David Salle writes, ‘Originality matters differently in painting than in the other arts. The eye is an efficient, if crass, abbreviator, establishing similarity and difference in an instant. For an artist, finding a look or a style that falls within the available possibilities of art, yet is different enough from anything that has come before it, is both the ideal and also a near impossibility. It’s interesting that it still matters so much. Every major style that feels new is at heart an amalgam of originating impulses

from previous art, though recombined in ways that obscure them, so thoroughly are they repurposed. It is art’s dimly perceived connection to what came before that allows us to register what is new in it’ (Salle 2018).

Davis: ‘A common theme in painting is the wish to bring some kind of unity to different kinds of language or at the very least to find something in common between them. Two ways of doing this that interest me are: through the handling of light and through the handling of fluidity–since the nature of paint is that it is fluid. The way paint changes state from liquid to solid is a kind of magic.

‘There is a visual language, or there are visual languages, and we not only paint in these languages, we see in them. Nevertheless, both painting and drawing, while knowing this, try to concern themselves with a ‘raw’ experience of sight, with the mechanics and experience of seeing itself.’There is a further aspect to all this: the idea that visual thinking is essential for any kind of thought, an idea long espoused by artists and theorists, especially modernists. The idea is an old one. In medieval thinking, says Georges Didi-Huberman, ‘the memory converts images into abstractions, into universals,’ i.e. into intellectual notions. The intellectual is dependent on the visual. According to Thomas Aquinas, ‘Man cannot understand anything without images’ (Didi-Huberman 100).5

As Davis’s paintings have changed, the luminosity internal to the painting belongs less to lights depicted in the painting (such as floodlights in the sports paintings) and depends more on the colour spots and colour contrasts themselves. These ‘abstract’ spots imply figurative light-sources (such as floodlights or similar, but with more ambiguity about what these sources might be); they emulate real light effects. Davis: ‘I like the idea of a light internal to the painting, of paintings that somehow create light. Andre Butzer talks about the light in paintings being close to death and representing hope and healing.’

Davis’s dots or spots are simple forms to contain the colour. At the same time, they allow even the most abstract of the paintings to suggest representational art. Davis is aware of the argument that abstraction has hidden representational sources. (It is hard to be truly non-representational. Paintings which are, look like paintings about painting. Robert Ryman, say, or Alan Charlton. Many others.)

The spots also create a relief effect because the paint is so thick. ‘In the painting of the religious figure, the figure was lifted from a silver relief by Valerio Belli [1468-1546]. It is one of the three kings kneeling before Christ. I was interested in whether I could borrow biblical subject matter and present it in a way that fits my own ideas, by making the dots more real than the scene.’ So, the dots represent the real content of the painting, but convey in themselves some idea of the ‘spiritual’ realm. The use of the figure tries to show the potentially ‘spiritual’ content of the dots. Davis seems to be asking about the relationship of painting and religion, or spirituality. The swirly patterns and the fluid colours also evoke the psychedelic and hence the idea of transcendence or mysticism. On the Belli relief he also says, ‘I am interested in how in a relief the figure is illusionistic, is an image like other images, but the reflected light and the depth are real. I was trying to do something similar by unifying the material surface, the physical spots, with the viewer’s reading of a figure.’

Of course, abstraction was always dependent on figuration. Hal Foster: ‘Far from mistakes, these vestiges of riders and mountains in Kandinsky or traces of trees and piers in Mondrian were necessary to the abstraction. They not only defined it as such but also grounded it, rescued it from the arbitrary–and the arbitrary was a constant threat to abstraction, a threat courted by Kandinsky, resisted by Mondrian’ (Foster 103).

‘Now I want to simplify the paintings, to try and do only one thing in them, to focus on one area of interest at a time.’ In the new paintings the shapes and dots are bigger. The new effects he uses, which include spectacular effects of colour, seem conceptual as well as optical. He has loosened up the relationship between figurative and abstract.

‘Painting is a balance between authorship and abandonment,’ he says. That is, between planning and following one’s intuition. He has indicated an interest existentialism. Its ‘existence precedes essence’ is a statement is about human behavior, not about stones, and we should see the paintings in this way–as being about the human psyche, not the world of objects. This interest and his interest in some of the art-theorists of the existentialist era are connected. ‘Rosenberg had the idea of the canvas as an arena in which a struggle takes place, and a painting as the record of actions, which I always found interesting, even though I don’t really think in that way.’ I’m not sure if the stadium-arenas he has painted have anything to do with all this, but I suspect they might.

If a painting is about painting, this allows room for other content to enter it. Davis paints a dot on a dot and it creates an aureole, creates light. Op is invoked. The history of abstraction is invoked. But behind the dots seems to be a picture, of something. Davis agrees that he paints in series, but says the series are not important, that the serial nature of the work is not part of its meaning or its content in any way. ‘They are in series, but they are not about seriality.’ In the most recent series, each painting takes as a starting point a painting by Boris Kustodiev–a different one each time. Davis seems to take a detail and to develop it. For example, the mushroom paintings are worked up from the noticeboard in Kustodiev’s Autumn Near the Town of 1915. The paintings are not about this, not about looking at another artist. But the use of a historical reference point for inspiration is important. It could have been another artist. It seems he likes to have something which will initiate a visual study. And Kustodiev’s spectacular skill with bright colour is significant. But Davis did not use instead a modern or a contemporary painter, which would then have seemed more of a theoretical statement.

His painting seems to draw on Pop, Op and Expressionism, older modernist colourists. Perhaps he chose Kustodiev to somehow belie this list. Kustodiev is not an Expressionist, nor a Symbolist, nor a Fauve, his style is more decorative, more ornamental, but he uses this manner to address the social and the political. Davis is interested in Kustodiev and Kandinsky for their ability with and ambition for bright colour. But Kustodiev’s paintings are a certain kind of social realism. And both Kandinsky and Kustodiev were interested in folk art.

The way Davis paints puts me in mind of these lines from Delmore Schwartz’s Genesis I, from a passage about a child’s experience of snow:

As one is satisfied, playing a game!
A game which makes activity pure joy,
Being itself Being itself, and more
Than striving for the absent future end–

(Schwartz 91).

The earlier drawings focus on, for example, a building, and ask what an understanding of a building might be. They know that we are always interpreting. Some of the charcoal drawings are from high viewpoints as if from windows. So they tell you where the artist was. It is said that ‘a drawing is a picture of our understanding’.6 The drawings are about the question of seeing. We all see different things in different ways; even one person can see the same thing in different ways. Any serious drawing is aware of that and shows it. Such is Davis’ attitude, and it’s visible. Arthur C Danto writes: ‘As Hegel puts it in speaking of the work of art, “It is essentially a question” ’ (Danto 98).7

The literature is vast and varied which discusses the idea of painting-about-painting. In Marin, ‘The paradox of Caravaggio’s work...consists in copying the truth of what appears in so slavish a manner that the pictural representation becomes a mere effect. That is, truth is an effect of the painting and not its origin’. Italics his. In Caravaggio ‘representation becomes nature’s equal’ (Marin 139). With his ‘excess of mimesis’ Caravaggio is ‘not painting reality but reality’s double’ (Marin 100). But this idea of reality having a double, that there are two realities that the artist is confronted with, is one of which many artists are aware. One might almost say, all good artists are aware of doing something similar to what Marin here describes. (Poussin’s complaint, Marin says, is that Caravaggio’s work is not about ‘beautiful ideas’, but is a kind of trompe l’oeil painting, and ‘questions the idea of truth.’)

Kandinsky tried to separate colour from its figurative home. But ideas about colour, and its autonomous  power, were not entirely new. In the thinking of the Middle Ages, Didi-Huberman writes, ‘it turns out that the proposed elective means of rendering an image intense, even traumatising, was none other than colour, and above all the colour red’ (Didi-Huberman 105). According to Marin’s reading of sources contemporary to Caravaggio, ‘The painting’s force, or potency, which produces a discursive effect, is quite simply the force and potency of colour’ (Marin 106).

Didi-Huberman says that in Medieval thinking, because the theological emphasis was on a  God who cannot be seen, only vestiges of his being can be shown in a painting. And that the self-consciousness the painter feels about this fact creates a particular kind of ambiguity. A figure in Medieval painting has two aspects: it tries to show something real (a person) and it tries to indicate truth, which is invisible and which, significantly, also belongs to the future, will only be revealed in the future. But the future revelation is the important thing, is what we are seeing. Didi-Huberman connects the incarnation and art. The effect of the idea of the incarnation was as ‘something which tried to pull the gaze beyond the eye, the visible beyond itself, into the terrible and admirable regions of the imaginary and the fantastic’ (Didi-Huberman 14). So the idea of the imagination itself becomes a subject. And in his study of the shadow Viktor Stoichita points out that exactly at the point that the shadow became a semi-scientific part of the art of perspective painting, the sinister use of the shadow (i.e. its use in giving the imagination a face, so to speak) began to appear, especially in prints. The idea of depicting the imagination had become irrepressible. Artist Marc Hulson once said to me, ‘I have always thought that abstraction aims to show the invisible, or if that is impossible, to indicate that it is there.’ We can say that it was following a tradition of thinking established centuries earlier.

Didi-Huberman says the dots which represent flowers in Fra Angelico’s Noli me Tangere (c.1439) are the wounds of Christ, while also remaining simple dots of red paint.8 The spots of paint can be icons, not just representations (Didi-Huberman 36-7). These kinds of ideas were revived in abstraction: the ideas found in discussions of abstraction are not new.

Davis’s very early work was influenced by Philip Guston. Thick awkward lines make squarish rounded shapes, and form boots, saucepans, jugs, pots, bottles, paintbrushes, a hand with a cigarette, a cigarette in a cloud, ambiguous shapes that seem based on real things but are turning into abstraction. I think Davis is interested in Guston partly because he sees that Guston’s work, whatever else it does, questions the nature of painting. His work takes from Guston the question of what a painting is and what a representation is and why we should represent this or that thing. (Bucklow says, ‘The things Guston depicts exist as signs within a language and are as much ideas as objects’) (Bucklow 120). In Davis objects (such as a saucepan) are in outline, are transparent, as if to ask, how can these be representations when the outlines are not filled in? So already we have paintings about what a painting might be. ‘Nothing is only what it is in Gustonworld. Everything is always something else’ (Bucklow 107).

In another set of early paintings paint drips from a cloud. This makes painting a natural phenomenon. Or it relates painting and the clouds–which Baudelaire says are the only thing the poet loves. The clouds are not to be seen in the newer paintings but I think they haunt them. They are probably, apart from anything else, an allusion to Guston. Sigmar Polke’s Higher Beings are also evoked, perhaps, which would make them about inspiration, nature as muse, even. Or the implication is that painting is a natural force. Guston has a hand coming out of cloud in The Line (1978). It’s drawing on the earth.

Davis: ‘Clouds interest me because of the way they retain light, light that seeps out, or is diffused or released in crepuscular rays. Secondary light: light that is reflected, filtered or diffused. Clouds are droplets of water, and I think this is one thing that leads to the dots in the later work. And in a way I am trying to describe mist–or mystery–by thinking about the mechanics of vapour and light. So, while I’m interested in the ethereal, at the same time I’m looking at the mechanics of painting. I like the techniques of modernist painting, and its reflexive nature. But I am a romantic. In the same way, when it comes to how we see, to perception, if I want to understand how the illusion of light and pictorial space occurs, it’s not just to analyse it.’

Jed Perl in a recent article on writer Vernon Lee (1856-1935) says, ‘What an artist is saying can never be separated from the way the artist says it’. There is now something of a revival of the old discussion about form and content, which, Perl suggests, can never really disappear, given the nature of art (Perl 77). ‘There was a richness, maybe even a messiness, about aesthetic experience as it was described by a considerable variety of writers in the years when modernism was still young. All too much of that was lost as formalism hardened into theory’ (Perl 76). Bucklow: ‘Guston writes in 1977 that he wants to “make the architecture and the content impossible to take apart” ’ (Bucklow 137). Jed Perl on Lee: ‘what stands how restlessly she negotiated what she obviously believed to be the fluid boundaries between form and content’ (Perl 76). To paraphrase Marin a little: to say that paintings raise the problems of painting is to claim that they represent the very process by which they are produced (Marin 97).

Davis’s painting of a glove is the earliest painting of his I know. It is full of an awareness of painting, of abstraction, of other art forms, of the hand that paints the painting, even of the idea of the persona of the artist. It is a figurative painting and an abstract painting, a picture of an art form–knitting–in which patterns are not just important but constitute the object. And it’s a hand, the thing that paints a picture. It’s probably a left hand, unless we are seeing the palm. But Davis is left-handed. So it contains the idea of content, of a message. This sets a pattern for the future, even while Davis’s objects get bigger as time goes on. His stadiums function in the same way as the glove. Some paintings take as starting points–copy–photos or television images of football games and other sports events. In stadiums a kind of art takes place, something aesthetic, they seem to say, and sport evokes the patterns of art with its own disciplined but chaotic patterns. It seems to me he paints people he thinks are authentic in what they do–football players, basketball players, rock musicians–not to mention one of the three Magi. The sports paintings are realist, and other pieces show an interest in realism. He is also interested in spectacle. But he also seems to say, the football pitch might be an abstract painting. But we should beware of seeing in too simple a way. Davis: ‘When I was doing the paintings from photographs the photo was the subject.’ In his earlier dot paintings images look to be taken from the television, so we think of this process of photographing the television. We are not sure if the image is ‘real’ or from a photo, from the internet, or otherwise second or third hand. It might be a painting of a photo of a screen. All of which also has to do with time. And yet the paintings still seem to make the point of being simultaneously about abstraction and about football.

The time it takes to make them is visible in the paintings. Does the content convey an idea of time? Ninety minutes of a football game? The instant of a camera flash? They try to live in the present, in a sense. In Davis’s abstracts it is as if we had zoomed in on the brain’s synapses and found these dots ready to re-make an image. This also fits with the psychedelic tone of many of the paintings, which, strangely, also seems to invoke time.

In Francis Ponge’s Soap the bar of soap is a symbol for the artwork: the artwork is a thing of potential, potential waiting to be released by the mind, by the reader, the viewer–by water, symbol of the intellect, of the mind. 'But look at him now, under the faucet gushing with impatience to loosen the dry tongue of the soap’ (Ponge 61). Of the ‘little piece of soap’, he writes: ‘at first it will say nothing to it falls to me to tell you (while it saves itself for the celebrations, which will come later) about the taciturn state of our object’ (Ponge 63). The bar of soap ‘seems to us the sign of a dramatic inner conflict’, and a little later: ‘even in its silence it is capable of words, is like a face about to speak.’ Then with a flourish, as if he were particularly pleased with this metaphor for an artwork: ‘Yes!’ (Ponge 65). Its hardness is a silence, like speech held back. As Briony Fer says of Eva Hesse: ‘meaning is always just about to be declared’.

Of course while Davis can allude to the ideas of high 50s abstraction, with its belief in authenticity, his work doesn’t indicate that he shares that belief, only that he has a fascination for it. It’s a belief that is not possible now. His love of Guston shows his embrace of a doubt about painting’s nature and capabilities. The application of dots or spots is a game. We are made to ask if we should understand it as meaningful or meaningless. If the blobs of paint become abstract then the painting as a representation falls apart. It becomes the idea of a representation. Nevertheless it’s more than just an idea because the eye is still engaged in trying to work out if there is something figurative amongst, or behind, the spots of colour. And the idea that any representational painting is just dots of paint is evoked. One or two paintings are reminiscent of Hans Hofmann, but while Hofmann relies on the way the paint is applied to imply an inner integrity in the artist, in the existentialist, Rosenbergian manner, Davis’s paint is applied too carefully to do this. He seems to be deliberately questioning the idea of the integrity of the painting. However, it remains true that the modernist art that interests him is romantic. And he says, ‘I am not trying to demystify the romantic, I’m happily entering into it.’

Davis: ‘Paint looks good in any case. You have to keep that and have something else as well.’ Even in his early work it is hard to see how the paint is applied. Davis says about his intentions: ‘I’m not sure if “spiritual” will do, it’s not the right word, but something in that direction.’ At the same time he says, ‘I want the paintings to become lighter.’ Some of the work has an almost comical side, a comedy which serves to reinforce our sense of the work’s seriousness.

It is always important to ask what kind of light is in a painting, what time of day it is, and so on. In the figurative paintings there is sunlight, electric light, camera flash. Arc lights, floodlights, circus lights. The bright lights of a funfair or of sunlight on water. If we have seen these the more abstract paintings look lit by this kind of light. The colour is used to create an ambiguity about the painting’s being abstract or figurative and there feels to be a constant self-conscious movement from one mode to the other. This is from painting to painting but also within each painting. The areas in between or under the spots suggest the idea of a background. The spots themselves suggest the idea of the grains of photographs or of pixels. Clumsy pixels, as if to say, this how you make an image. And of course we are made to think of Seurat and Signac. The dots or spots seem at once pointillist, abstract expressionist, and taken from other forms of abstraction. And I haven’t even mentioned the other shapes–buckled liquid flows, large splotches that drip, rings, ragged splotches one inside the other, like psychedelic wood grain. Patterns of loose, tight cohering lines, like something out of Gustave Moreau. All these marks show, quite self-consciously, their apparent influences. But they are multivalent. ‘The dots also represent flaws in our vision, such as “eye floaters” ’, says Davis. They are, finally, accumulations of spots, in lines or in other configurations, suggesting lost images. And as Bucklow says of the accumulations of things in Guston’s paintings, ‘what is a pile if it is not a gathering together of something that then coheres?’ (Bucklow 107).

Lionel Trilling: ‘Not until our own time will critics give up trying to justify art by the pleasure it gives...The artist–as he comes to be called–ceases to be the craftsman or the performer, dependent upon the approval of the audience. His reference is to himself only, or to some transcendent power which–or who–has decreed his enterprise and alone is worthy to judge it’ (Trilling 97). That was written in 1971 or 1972, Polke’s Höhere Wesen befahlen: rechte obere Ecke schwarz malen! was painted in 1969.9

In 2010 Vermeulen and van den Akker published Notes on Metamodernism. They identify a new romanticism, pointing out that this is not exactly new, nor the idea of it new. The most important word in this text is ‘oscillation’. It is an oscillation between ‘a modern commitment and a postmodern detachment’, between ‘irony and enthusiasm’, ‘between the modern and the postmodern’. They quote Jerry Saltz’s ‘Sincerity and Irony Hug it Out’, a New York Magazine article: ‘It’s an attitude that says, I know what I’m making may seem silly, even stupid, or that it might have been done before, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t serious’ (Vermeulen and van den Akker 2, 4, 5 ). Davis doesn’t think what he’s doing is silly, but this does describe his attitude: he knows that he is in a sense playing with the past, but he knows he is also engaged on a project which is contemporary and serious.

‘The metamodern is constituted by the tension, no, the double-bind, of a modern desire for sens and a postmodern doubt about the sense of it all.’ We want meaning but wonder if it’s possible. But we live with the contradiction. They quote Tanja Wagner: ‘The works convey enthusiasm as well as irony. They play with hope and melancholy, oscillate between knowledge and naivety, empathy and apathy, wholeness and fragmentation, purity and ambiguity...looking for a truth without expecting to find it.’ (Vermeulen and van den Akker 7). I think Davis hopes to find it, even if he’s not foolish enough to think that we can still think like Kandinsky.

They write, ‘At the time of writing, metamodernism appears to find its clearest expression in an emergent neoromantic sensibility.’ But on romanticism, they note that in 1924 Arthur Lovejoy wrote ‘that there are so many different, often differing definitions of the concept that we might rather speak of Romanticisms’10 (Vermeulen and van den Akker 8). This new or newish attitude is ‘most visible in the work of those artists and architects who engage with everyday life, the commonplace, and the mundane’ (Vermeulen and van den Akker 10). This finds an echo when Davis says, ‘I’m interested in something beyond normal comprehension. But I’m not free of the world we live in. I’m anchored in the material world and in the everyday.’ Davis’s painting is self-conscious; ironic and un-ironic at the same time. In Vermeulen and van den Akker ‘irony’ and ‘enthusiasm’ are paired four times, the point being that the two attitudes are in opposition but in metamodernism find themselves unified. It is a return, a reprise. The romantic, and also the modern. An old new movement, a new old one: the modernist revival but post-modern. Davis: ‘I like the word continuum–between Pop, surfaces and the metaphysical and spiritual.’ Davis wouldn’t do what he does if he didn’t know he was doing more than he knows. It’s not just the unconscious which is active, it’s the energy of art itself. Art itself does something, as Aloïs Riegl proposed with his idea of Kunstwollen, best translated, Stefan Muthesius says, as ‘what art wants to do’.



1 Ponge, Soap, 105.

2 Victor Hugo, Les Rayons et les Ombres, 1840.

3 Schwartz, 89.

All quotations of Matthew Davis 2018, from telephone conversations or emails.

Summa Theologica IIa-IIae, 47-76. Aquinas is drawing on Aristotle, who in De Anima says the same.

Quoted on BBC’s Autumn Watch, 16 October 2018, by bird artist David Sibley.

Quoting Hegel’s Aesthetics, first published in 1835.

Christ is sowing the stigmata in the terrestrial world, Didi-Huberman explains.

9‘ The Higher Beings Command: Paint the Upper Right-Hand Corner Black!’

10 Arthur Lovejoy, ‘On the Discrimination of Romanticisms’, PMLA 39, no.2 (June 1924).




Christopher Bucklow (2007): What is in the Dwat: the Universe of Guston’s Final Decade, Wordsworth Trust.

Arthur C Danto (1997): After the End of Art, Princeton.

Georges Didi-Huberman (1990): Fra Angelico: Dissemblance et Figuration, Flammarion.

Louis Marin (1995): To Destroy Painting, Chicago. Originally published in French in 1977.

Stefan Muthesius (2001): Aloïs Riegl: Volkskunst, Hausfleiss und Hausindustrie, Framing Formalism: Riegl’s Work, Routledge.

Jed Perl (2018): The Universal Eye, New York Review of Books, 16 August.

Francis Ponge (1969): Soap, translated by Lane Dunlop, Stanford. Originally published in French in 1967: Le Savon, Gallimard.

David Salle (2018): Musical Lines: Terry Winters, New York Review of Books, 16 August.

Jerry Saltz (2010): ‘Sincerity and Irony Hug it Out’, New York Magazine, 27 May.

Delmore Schwartz (1943): Genesis I, New Directions.

Viktor I Stoichita (1997): A Short History of the Shadow, Reaktion.

Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker (2010): Notes on Metamodernism, Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, Vol. 2.