Sol Lewitt,
Wall Drawing 901, 1999
Color bands and black blob. The wall is divided vertically into six equal bands; red; yellow; blue; orange; purple; green.
In the center is a black glossy blob.
May 1999
Acrylic paint

For an exhibit at the ICA Philadelphia entitled “Sol LeWitt: New Work (Black and Colors)” LeWitt designed four new wall drawings, each featuring stripes of all the primary and secondary colors and irregular black forms. LeWitt referred to these forms as “blobs,” a term that recalls science fiction or comic books. Many art historians and critics also link the blob form to Matisse’s cut-outs. Although these organically shaped forms appear to be uncharacteristic for LeWitt, they epitomize his belief that “to be truly objective one cannot rule anything out. All possibilities include all possibilities without pre-judgement or post-judgement.”

The blob wall drawings also exemplify another change in LeWitt’s wall drawings – the introduction of secondary colors (orange, violet, and green) into LeWitt’s color palette, which had been previously limited to gray, yellow, red, and blue. The artist’s expansion of his color palette occurred when he began to use paint rather than ink washes. In the latter medium he had worked only in the four basic colors used for printing, layering them to create a variety of hues. His adoption of the three secondary colors was based on the hues created by the secondary colors that the ink layering produced.

The contrast between the vertical colored stripes and the amorphous blob in each of the wall drawings is intensified by LeWitt’s use of matte and glossy varnishes. In Wall Drawing 901, for instance, the colors are flat while the blob is glossy.

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