Three hundred and sixty one


Going Out of Business

2014 by Mel Bochner
Simon Lee Gallery

The title of Bochner’s exhibition – and the title of this work – is particularly poignant in light of recent events; going out of business has been all too real for many people and the phrase is suitably loaded. The power of a turn of phrase is what Bochner manages to visualise in his paintings; he harnesses the associations text has the power to summon and allows them to feed his works. Indeed, the letters themselves are fed with paint – sometimes up to a pound per letter – before being printed, pressed onto their opulent velvet. As a result each letter is different, the thick paint blotting and fading unpredictably, different colours invading one another; they appear almost as personalities. The dependency on process, on the thick and expressive nature of paint, furthers the agency of these words. Each have come through something and reacted – green GOING is fading appropriately into the background; blue LOST is almost missing; red EVERYTHING is solid colour in every letter. The intimacy we feel with these charged words is carried in the sensuous texture of velvet, to which the paint clings instead of canvas. Going Out of Business is jarring – like the idea itself – in its clashing of colours; lurid tones are paired against each other – off-white gleams on purple, a lightly putrid yellow on a sickly sweet peach. Bochner’s other works are just as sensitive to their textual subject – Chuckle is bright colours, shining humorously on black, while Silence is a quiet blurring of greys and soft pastels. Bochner’s painting have a lot to say, and not just because they’re full of words.


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Filed under Postcards, Twenty First-Century

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