The decoration and making of folding screens is a specific strain within the larger tradition of painting. Screens allow the artists the freedom and responsibility of making their own walls and the viewers the opportunity to shape their own environments. The contemporary artists’ use of this vehicle at once reinforces a long tradition while at the same time expressing a contemporary attitude. It is for this reason that the decoration and making of screens can provide such a wonderful and illuminating experience.
Contemporary screens expand our definition of art. They are not pieces of furniture on which we toss our clothing. They are almost always assertive, and like paintings, they are expressive objects which need to be interpreted and studied.
Lucas Samaras, Screen, 1967, painted wood, five panels, each 59 1/4×23 1/4×7/8”.
Jim Dine, Landscape Screen (Sky, Sun, Grass, Snow, Rainbow), 1969, acrylic on canvas mounted on wood panels, five panels, each 73 3/4×18”. Courtesy Pace Gallery.
Ed Ruscha, Remember and Forget, 1986, lacquered wood in relief, five panels, 78 3/4×149 3/8”. Edition of 12.
Roy Lichtenstein, Screen with Brushstrokes, 1986 lacquered wood in relief with silver leaf, five panels, 94 1/4×135”. Edition of 12. Courtesy Lana Jokel, Lacquer Editions.
Helen Frankenthaler, Gateway 8/12, 1988, three panel bronze and print, 81×107 x 4 1/2”. Photograph ©1988 Kevin Ryan. Courtesy Andre Emmerich Gallery.
David Hockney, Caribbean Tea Time (front), 1987, lithograph, screen print, collage, stencil, folding screen, five panels, each 84 5/8×134 1/2”. Photograph ©1989 Steven Sloman. Courtesy Tyler Graphics, Ltd.
Jack Youngerman, Tabriz, 1980, enamel on aluminum, two panels, 72×124”. Photo © 1981 Al Mozell.
Ellsworth Kelly, La Combe II, 1951, oil on wood, nine panels, each 39×5 3/16”. Photo ©1990 Steven Sloman.
Francesco Clemente, Paravent, 1982, water color on paper, four panels, 72×93”.
Jennifer Bartlett, To The Island (detail), 1982, enamel on mahogany, seven panels, 72×131 3/4”. Photo ©1982 Geoffrey Clements. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery.
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