Donald Judd

25 February - 25 May 2003

The new gallery will open with an exhibition of work by the late Donald Judd, one of the foremost and acclaimed practioners of Minimal art of the late 1960s and 1970s. In the wake of Abstract Expressionism and its highly subjective, mystical focus, Judd and other Minimalists sought to create a depersonalized art in which the physical properties of space, scale, and materials were explored as phenomena of interest on their own, rather than as metaphors for human experience. "A shape, a volume, a color, a surface is something itself," Judd wrote. "It shouldn't be concealed as part of a fairly different whole."

The show is curated by Peter Ballantine of the Donald Judd Foundation, and encompasses a broad selection of work from the 60s,70s and 80s. The common link that creates the focus of the show is the colour brown, one of the two most important, and by far the least understood of Judd’s colours. Despite various shows of the artists’ work taking the colour/ colourist theme as a point of reference over the past few years, Judd’s relationship with brown has not been explored. This show addresses this omission.

The sleek, boxlike constructions of the 60s and 70s made of industrial materials are included in the show, where brown, an essential component of his earlier paintings, is initially applied in the form of paint. Stacked, aligned, cantilevered, or centered, their strict geometric arrangements--often derived from mathematical progressions--eliminate the idea of composition and achieve a singular focus on the object itself. They combine elements of architecture, sculpture, and painting, and though they are resolutely three-dimensional, Judd refused to call them sculpture, a term he associated with the hand-crafted art of an earlier era. Instead, he referred to them as "specific objects"--a phrase meant to suggest their neutral, discrete nature. Judd’s exploration of brown became progressively more natural over the period which the show covers until the 1980s; he found ways to enable the colour to be inherent in the work in the sense that it became the material itself. From the plexiglass on steel and aluminium to copper and brass, which over time untreated would become brown, to the perfect solid brown of corten steel or unpainted plywood, all represented in the exhibition, Judd explored this colour.