Summary

This work is one of eight preparatory drawings (Tate T12011-T12018) related to Weiner’s installation SPHERES OF INFLUENCE 1991. The installation comprises five statement works (Tate T12006-T12010) and two related open edition posters (Tate P20269-P20270).

Weiner’s work has always been characterised both by its conceptual nature and by the graphic quality of its pictorial manifestations. He is best known for his ‘statement’ works which exist as language with the potential to be displayed or acted out. The flexibility of presentation suggests an egalitarian approach to art making. However the distinctive style of Weiner’s statement works owes a great deal to his aesthetic approach, which has had a pronounced influence on contemporary graphic design and typography. Throughout his career the artist has produced works on paper including posters, drawings and books.

These drawings exemplify aspects of the artist’s precise visual style. The motif of crossed lines bisecting an ovoid form recurs in all the SPHERES OF INFLUENCE drawings as well as the related posters. This diagrammatic form suggests a point of convergence in the crossed paths of the parallel lines, with the ovoid shapes expressing the parameters of the ‘spheres of influence’ of the title. The artist has described how he traced ordinary household objects including jars to make some of the curvilinear forms in these works (conversation with the artist, 17 October 2005).

This drawing is dominated by two ovoid motifs, one in the top centre of the image, the other in the bottom left. These ‘spheres of influence’ are highlighted with yellow gouache. The work’s title is handwritten at a steep angle on the left of the image, with arrows pointing towards the two sets of intersecting lines. On the right side of the image two lines of red typewritten text reading ‘SOPHISTICATION’ and ‘LACK OF/SKILL’ are separated by a horizontal line in a visual echo of the typical configuration of the SPHERES OF INFLUENCE statement works. Two small blue rectangular forms positioned like an equal sign draw the eye to the words ‘SPHERE OF INFLUENCE’ in black typewritten text to the right.

Further reading:
Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Alexander Alberro, Alice Zimmerman and David Batchelor, Lawrence Weiner, London 1998, reproduced p.89 in colour.
‘Lawrence Weiner: SPHERES OF INFLUENCE’, exhibition leaflet, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London 1991.
Liz Kotz and Carlos Basualdo, Lawrence Weiner: Until It Is, exhibition catalogue, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio 2002.

Rachel Taylor
December 2005