Stephen Buckley

Many Angles


Not on display

Stephen Buckley born 1944
Polyvinyl acetate paint on board with metal and hardboard brackets, oil paint on canvas and steel straps
Object: 1270 × 1930 × 50 mm
Purchased 1992

Display caption

'Many Angles' refers to a work in the Tate Gallery Collection by the German Dada artist Kurt Schwitters: 'Relief in Relief' c1942-5, which was also known as 'Many Angles'. As in Schwitters's assemblage, Buckley has emphasised the work's physical character. It comprises several panels joined together by metal plates at various angles. Each panel mimics the back of a painting. This illusion is made apparent because the canvas does not extend fully around the side of each wooden stretcher. There are further contradictions in the way the stretchers act as frames. Each contains abstract shapes remininscent of 'crazy paving'. Thus the title also refers to these visual ambiguities and puns.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Technique and condition

The works comprises six similar square panels of approximately 610 mm 2 joined by 24, 152mm steel straps which hold them apart. Screwed to the front and the back they are an integral part of the work.

Each panel consists of the same components and structure although each has a unique appearance. The base of each rectangle consists of irregularly shaped pieces of 20 mm thick blockboard with scrim tacked onto them. The painted side is face down and they are undulating rather than flat. The pieces of blockboard were then assembled into the square being held by the outer 20 x 45 mm timber framework screwed to the front and in all but one square by various metal and hardboard brackets across some of the joins. Various household paints including silver and gold metallic colours were dribbled and worked over the scrim, fluid black paint was run through the joins from the back and the outer timber framework and brackets were painted in impasted artists' oil colours. While the black paint was fluid cotton duck canvas was stapled across the back, absorbing some of the paint. Strips of cotton duck were stapled over the dried paint of the front face of the outer wood frame.

Finally, P.V.A. emulsion was poured into the reservoir formed by the framework and allowed to flow over all the surface of the blockboard but carefully avoiding covering the flesh pink coloured brackets. This developed streaks of rust from the tacks used to hold the scrim which were encapsulated as the PVA dried to a tough film of variable thickness and pock marked in some areas with air bubbles. A thin resinous film was also brushes over the front cotton strips and joining brackets which were attached last of all.

The work is in good condition and only required surface cleaning on acquisition.

Roy Perry

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