We are all frustrated with computers, all the time… But we also always develop a relationship with computers these days – something my parents never had… there’s always a kind of negotiation, sometimes you are in tune with it and other times you are fighting with it.
Wade Guyton is both a radical and a traditionalist who breaks the mold but pieces it back together in a different configuration. He is most known for his black austere monochromes made with an Epson inkjet printer. Born in Hammond, IN, Guyton studied at the University of Tennessee, and later at Hunter College in New York. Uninterested in drawing by hand, much less in wielding a paintbrush, Guyton describes himself as someone who makes paintings but does not consider himself a painter. Using common digital technologies as studio tools, Guyton explores relationships among viewers, images, and artworks — often including intentional errors. In his early work, Guyton used a desktop printer to lay black X-shapes, which would become his signature mark, over pages taken from interior design catalogues. His work recycles images using inkjet printing, photo silk screening, and stenciling to imitate Abstract painting. For his series of large-scale untitled works from 2007–2008, Guyton printed black ink on pieces of stretched linen using an Epson 9600 printer. These works appear to follow the tradition of Abstract Expressionism, but the inconsistencies on the surface of the canvases depend on the amount of ink in the printer, not on the artist’s hand. Guyton questions the value of artistic skill in age when Abstract Art is proliferated by mechanical reproduction. In 2009, he began a series of black-and-white stripes produced by printing digital files of the stripes on pieces of folded linen, which record inconsistencies in ink and the scratches made by dragging the fabric across the floor to feed into the printer. In 2012, the artist presented groundbreaking body of work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, exploring our changing relationships to images and artworks through the use of common digital technologies, such as the desktop computer, scanner, and inkjet printer.
Guyton’s work has been exhibited at the Kunsthalle Zürich in Switzerland, the Museo d’Arte Moderna in Bologna, and MoMA PS1 in New York. Guyton’s work is now held in the permanent collections of major institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Kunstmuseum Basel, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and The Museum of Modern Art. Guyton currently lives and works in New York.