Wade Guyton (b. 1972)
Wade Guyton (b. 1972)


Wade Guyton (b. 1972)
Epson ultrachrome inkjet on linen
30 7/8 x 24 7/8in. (78.5 x 63cm.)
Executed in 2005
Galerie Francesca Pia, Geneva.
Anon. sale, Christie's London, 12 February 2010, lot 266.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Zürich, Haus Konstruktiv, Ordnung und Verführung, 2006.



"There is evidence of this struggle in the work, in its surface. I've been putting different kinds of material through my inkjet printer and there are lots of fuck ups in the printing, the inkjet heads get snagged, ink drips, the registration slides. I'm also just making dumb marks--lines, Xs, Us, squares, monochromatic shapes that don't require the complexity of the photo printer technology--and it's interesting how the printer can't handle such simple gestures" (W. Guyton quoted in D. Fogle, W. Guyton, J. Rasmussenm, K. Walker, "A Conversation about Yves Klein, Mid-Century Design Nostalgia, Branding, and Flatbed Scanning", Guyton/Walker: The Failever of Judgement, exh. cat., Midway Museum of Contemporary Art, 2004, p. 43-45).

Spontaneity and chance brought Wade Guyton to painting. Inspired by the intellectual summersaults of Duchamp and his post-modern devotees he embarked as an artist in pursuit of the conceptual ripostes that challenge and redefine the confines of what qualifies as "high art" rather than any mastery of paint on canvas. Hence his signature "X" and "U" motifs which first appeared in Guyton's drawings in which the banal forms were printed liberally over pages of art historical texts, themselves printed with facsimiles of canonical masterpieces. The process served to signify and validate the reproduced image which had taken-on new meaning in contemporary society.

Guyton's eventual turn to painting was born of these works. Scott Rothkopf quotes the artist as wondering, "If I call these things drawings, how would I make a painting?" (S. Rothkopf, "Modern Pictures", J. de Vries, Wade Guyton: Color, Power & Style, New York, 2006, p. 65). Why not let his mundane inkjet printer loose on the sacred plane of the long exalted canvas? The mechanical process begs many a question about the true nature painting, exciting and fruitful territory for an artist who revered the appropriation artists of the 1980s. Yet uncontrollable quirks in his tools render Guyton's hands-off method remarkably painterly. Subtle changes in tone appear in the ink as it is spread across the surface, the automatic black shifting from true black to a shade revealing more green and blue undertones to wispy grays. The skidding of the print cartridge across the canvas striates the central form, endowing the shape with a rhythmic texture and producing shadows due to smudging and residue. As Guyton can only pass half of his canvas through the printer at one time, the overall painting is created by folding the support and executing one side and then the other. The paintings are therefore always bisected by a central seam, on either side of which ensue idiosyncrasies: edges do not match, colours differ, and forms disappear or repeat unexpectedly. While borne of the computer, the works are produced Guyton, and reveal his tussles with his materials.

Guyton's oeuvre to date draws and expands on the work of many masters. Duchamp's readymade, Johns' study of everyday signs, Richard Prince's printing techniques are all relevant to his process and pursuits. Andy Warhol's factory-like production of silkscreened paintings looms especially large. His view that life is a series of images that change as they repeat themselves is particularly applicable to Guyton's method and output. Standing on the shoulders of these twentieth century giants, Guyton moves confidently forward into the twenty-first, addressing the concerns of the digital age rather than the mechanical, all while maintaining the subtleties of painting that, evidently regardless of practice, are borne of and inspire human creativity.