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b. 1940, USA

Mel Bochner Biography

Mel Bochner’s intellectual and material analysis of photography, painting and sculpture in the early stages of his career produced ground-breaking works that established his reputation as one of the leading American conceptualists. His early works dissected the art object and formed the ‘analytical’ groundwork so crucial in informing the basis for the more ‘synthetic’ works of recent years. The overriding question at the heart of his project has always been the same - How do we receive and interpret different types of information?

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In the wake of abstract expressionism artists felt there was little to add to painting and this triggered in Bochner a response that was more about thinking than making. He started to find clear ways of looking at art and to question how we experience depth, perspective and space. He went on to explore language and colour in the same way.

His thesaurus paintings are an important part of this particular enquiry. Word chains intertwine painting and language using colour. Big, bright and witty, they start with one word – ‘Silence’, ‘Amazing’, ‘Crazy’ – and the rest of the painting is made up of synonyms pulled from a thesaurus and listed from top left to bottom right in lines as on a page, the register descending dramatically into slang and expletives. His use of colour sometimes affirms the language it is painting and at other times ignores it, intentionally avoiding colour systems and patterns. These paintings make us think about the acts of reading and looking, and representation and abstraction, and how they cross over. The thesaurus painting is just one of many rationalising systems that Bochner uses to question and explore our irrational trust in language and the world around us.

Text courtesy Simon Lee Gallery.

Mel Bochner Featured Artworks

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Counting 0-10 by Mel Bochner contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Mel BochnerCounting 0-10, 2002Oil on canvas
20.3 x 25.4 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Contact Gallery
If The Color Changes (#3) by Mel Bochner contemporary artwork painting
Mel BochnerIf The Color Changes (#3), 1997Oil on canvas
91.4 x 121.9 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Contact Gallery
Silence by Mel Bochner contemporary artwork print
Mel BochnerSilence, 201319 colour water-based silkscreen with colour shifting inks
152.4 x 114.3 cm
Fraenkel Gallery Contact Gallery
Obscene by Mel Bochner contemporary artwork print
Mel BochnerObscene, 20178 colour silkscreen
156.8 x 118.1 cm
Fraenkel Gallery Contact Gallery
Scoundrel by Mel Bochner contemporary artwork print
Mel BochnerScoundrel, 2010136 colour silkscreen
152.4 x 114.3 cm
Fraenkel Gallery Contact Gallery
Counting by Mel Bochner contemporary artwork painting
Mel BochnerCounting, 2000Oil on canvas
45.7 x 61 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Contact Gallery
Blah, Blah, Blah by Mel Bochner contemporary artwork works on paper
Mel BochnerBlah, Blah, Blah, 2012Monotype
30.5 x 22.9 cm
Sold
Karsten Schubert London
Measurement 20 by Mel Bochner contemporary artwork drawing
Mel BochnerMeasurement 20", 1997Oil on prepared paper
56.7 x 77.5 cm
Karsten Schubert London Contact Gallery

Mel Bochner Recent Exhibitions

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Mel Bochner Represented By

Fraenkel Gallery contemporary art gallery in San Francisco, USA Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco
Simon Lee Gallery contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong, London, New York

Mel Bochner In Ocula Magazine

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