Oil and enamel on linen
90 inches by 96 inches
Located in Owner's Club
Jacqueline Humphries' Blondnoir (2008) appears to be two or three paintings collapsed into the same
space. Think high-speed collision. Or a digital transmission on the fritz. The New York artist's fractured,
silver-hued abstraction gives stunning shape to the compression of time and space that makes modern
life both thrilling and anxiety-riddled.
In the nineteenth century, philosophers felt that the Sublime delivered such double-edged experiences.
Humphries, influenced by her predecessors in the New York painting school, brings them down to earth.
The metallic silver paint she mixes herself is highly reflective. Its glare can be blinding. So to see her work
without squinting, one must look at it from various angles, from across the room and up close. Taking it
in from different perspectives allows the viewer to appreciate its splintered, stop-and-start composition.
Its title, made up of two adjectives Humphries has joined, evokes light and darkness, beauty and menace.
And like a movie from the glory days of film noir, her painting requires that viewers do a little detective
work, piecing together the evidence to see the light amid the shadows.
To this end, Humphries hides nothing. A close look reveals that Blondnoir was painted in layers. Each
layer dried before the next was applied. And between layers, Humphries covered parts of her painting
with strips of masking tape, sometimes sticking it on in parallel bands and at other times with less
regularity. The process�painting, taping, tearing off the tape (and doing it over and over again)�has
created a charged surface of interrupted brushstrokes and fragmented shapes that recalls cut-andpaste
collage and roughly-spliced films. The drama and the suspense are there for any viewer who is
not afraid to play detective.