The Sun
2 June – 14 July, 2001


The Spencer Brownstone Gallery is pleased to announce Rebecca Quaytman’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. The Sun comprises two sets of forty paintings, one hung in a grid for the gallery and one hung in a straight line for the Queens Museum of Art. In the paintings a system of metric uniformity is established to support an extended meditation on history, projection, and geometry. Some of the paintings are silk-screens of photographic images and some are hand painted. The painting’s dimensions are a golden section: 20 x 32.36 inches. Though no single narrative ties the paintings together, the group as a whole can be seen as a grid or line of multiple singularities resembling storyboards and film stills. Each painting is legible both in isolation and in context, constituting an ambivalent grammar of repetition, visual rhyme and rhythm.
One particular event served as the origin for the series imagery. On October 14, 1940 the artist’s paternal grandfather and great-grandfather were returning home late in the evening from visiting the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens. That particular weekend at the fair the automobile and the utopia it promised were celebrated. On their way home an accident occurred. The car the two men were driving crashed through a railroad gate and was hit by an oncoming Long Island Railroad Train. Both men were instantly killed. A newspaper article about the accident and the newspaper’s masthead (The Sun) appear in a number of paintings. Mark Quaytman, the artist’s grandfather, had immigrated from Lodz, Poland, and the artist traveled to the small industrial city last summer. Photos from the train ride and the overgrown and vandalized Jewish graveyard in Lodz are combined with the elements from the events of October 14, 1940. “ In the process of researching these fragments of a personal history I realized that trains, dates and geometry could lead me a lot further in my thinking about how and what to paint. I have been trying to find a way to make a painting which can be seen simultaneously within a particular context and in isolation. In other words, when I make a painting I try to expand the perimeters of reference beyond the singular painting’s formal make-up into the architecture and also the history into which it is placed, thinking always about the trajectory of the audience and the ways the paintings can direct and draw its flows.