John Latham
Man Caught Up with a Yellow Object 1954

Artwork details

John Latham 1921–2006
Man Caught Up with a Yellow Object
Date 1954
Medium Oil paint and commercial emulsion paint on hardboard
Dimensions Support: 1221 x 977 mm
frame: 1345 x 1107 x 67 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1991
Not on display

Display caption

Latham used a spray gun to sweep diluted black paint across a base layer of grey. The Shape of a body developed out of this haze. It remains fragmentary and truncated, partly overtaken by the accompanying yellow object. This loss of bodily form suggests more profound anxieties, which were widespread in the 1950s, about alienation and the futility of individual action. However, Latham himself sees the yellow object as a symbol of enlightenment, and he associates the tiny dots of spray painting with the units of time that constitute reality.

September 2004