Stab One 1965


Stab One

Catalogue raisonné no. 75

Artist's CR 073


New York

Acrylic and chrome on aluminium

94 x 27 inches / 0 cm

Selected Citations and Comments

I began to prune away the painted background and let instead the real environment of the piece begin to play this role. I had always thought of paintings as objects in the environment rather than as framed windows into another world, and to stress this point usually the edges of the canvas were painted as well as the front. But at this point the dynamism of the shape of the canvas began to supersede the dynamism of the image it bore and, indeed, in many cases this outline shape implied far greater volume than did the painted surface. More flat space too, is drawn into, and becomes part of, the painting than the mere painted acreage. The stretcher shape I needed gradually became more and more complicated and, after vainly trying to make a canvas stretcher for the piece shown here, I gave up and cut the shape I required out of aluminium sheet instead. So, initially for this somewhat mundane and practical reason, I moved from canvas to metal. At the same time, wishing to draw the viewer into the piece, I used a reflecting chrome-plated piece at the bottom. Thus the viewer, when he looks into the chromium mirror, becomes himself part of the painting - the skydiver, in fact. Though the painting is extremely formal, it still has a quite literal subject matter - that of a parachute rippling out behind a falling man. I found that chrome plate created a similar space to the dotted areas, and the balance between it and the flat coloured areas remained the same. So from this point on it was substituted for the painted dots.

Gerald Laing, 1971: Gerald Laing, exh. cat., Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 2971, pp.13–4