Stanley Whitney (b. 1946) Lightnin, 2009 Oil on linen 40 × 40 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; promised gift of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg PG.2015.19
A self-described colorist, Stanley Whitney is best known for his signature grid works. Each painting is a product of his complex investigations of color associations and spatial relationships. In Lightnin he deploys the square as a geometric form through which color can be fully expressed. By softening the grid, he allows the viewer to navigate the distinct colors in the work and appreciate their differences. Music is a principal influence for Whitney’s lyrical compositions, which borrow from the African-American oral traditions of improvisation and call and response.