Powerful, yet haunting in their monochromatic pulse, decade after decade Witek has created variations on variations motivated solely by the color black. Over the years, she has adopted her own processes, borrowed from a language devised in the 1960s and 1970s by the likes of Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, and her neighbor Richard Serra. Electing to use only black, Witek has produced compositions that deliberately avoid formal and coloristic drama associated with much of Post-War American art.
“Black is, quite simply, the color of language.” –Joan Witek, September 2019
“I am attracted to black because of the beauty of the color and for me, its infinite variety. It is a color that has been my inspiration since I began painting.” –Joan Witek
Joan Witek has used the color black for much of her life as an artist. While appearing to be simple and easily grasped, there is an ongoing language of proportion and meaning in this abstraction for her. Black is usually considered the absence of color: it is severe, rigorous, associated with emptiness and repression. But as Lilly Wei has written: “Witek plays these oppositions in her work: black being ascetic and alluring, meditative and expressive, flawless and flawed, fierce and demure, a distinct unequivocal presence, yet subtle, elusive.”
This exhibition, mounted in collaboration with Artist Estate Studio, LLC, will present a survey of Joan Witek’s paintings from the 1980s, many of which are on view for the first time.