ARTISTS / Art after 1945
Robyn Denny

Strait
© Robyn Denny / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Robyn Denny

Strait, 1965

Acrylic on canvas
152,4 × 122 cm

signed, titled and dated in lead on stretcher on the reverse: ROBYN DENNY STRAIT 1964-65; Labels: ROBERT ELKON GALLERY, New York; Würrtembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; Kasmin Limited, New York; Galerie Müller, Stuttgart.
(DENNYR/M 2)

price upon request
 
 
 
The painting "Strait" by Robyn Denny from 1965 is - when viewed casually - hard to beat in terms of inconspicuousness: a dark gray painted canvas with a symmetrically arranged, towering play of lines set in light gray, as if in a geometric maze, whose interior spaces are in dark blue-gray. The matte color nuances are so subtly placed that one must engage the painting head-on to experience them. The association of a door is not far-fetched, but it leads neither further nor back, even if it would first imagine a room - it would remain vague, placeless. In the time-space continuum, the state depicted is that of a lack of beginning and orientation: a modern sense of speechless distance. "In any case, the silence of the images is not mute, their transparency not empty." (R. D.) Dated 1965, the painting "Strait" was created in the decade that is now considered Denny's seminal creative period. On the one hand, the title "Strait" literally alludes to the labyrinthine situation depicted centrally on the picture surface, and on the other hand, it statues one of Denny's main artistic concerns, which is characterized by a nuanced, graduated selection of opposing colors. Thus, when viewed from a distance, the image appears almost like a tone-on-tone painting that only dissolves when viewed from the front. This harmonious color scheme is broken only by the dark gray used for the surrounding space in contrast to the matte olive colored, in turn, by the dark blue-gray of the pattern, which opens a mystical level due to its seeming ornamentation. "In any case, the silence of the images is not mute, their transparency is not empty." (R. D.) The English painter Robyn Denny belongs to that legendary group of British artists who already helped the art of Great Britain to international rank towards the end of the 1950s. Influenced by popular culture and U.S. films, Denny initially worked in the style of Abstract Expressionism, but abandoned this direction in 1959 in favor of a more minimalist painting increasingly committed to geometric formal language. Thus, by the end of the 1950s, he had already advanced to become an early pioneer and later the main representative of the hard-edge painting style that was just gaining acceptance. In 1973, he was the youngest artist ever to have a retrospective devoted to him at the renowned Tate Gallery in London. In 1981 Denny spent several years in Los Angeles and did not return to London until the 1990s.
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