Robyn Denny

Glass I. From Here


Not on display

Robyn Denny 1930–2014
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 2743 × 5182 mm
Purchased 1974

Catalogue entry


Not inscribed
Oil on canvas, 108×204 (304.4×518.4)
Purchased from Charles Ware (Grant-in-Aid) 1973
Coll: The Artist; Charles Ware (through Kasmin Ltd)
Exh: Robyn Denny, Kasmin Ltd, June–July 1971 (no catalogue); Robyn Denny Tate Gallery, March–April 1973 (82, repr. p.55 and in colour p.59)
Lit: R.Kudielka in the introduction to the Tate Gallery exhibition catalogue, p.54; Michael Compton, ‘Robyn Denny: controlling the medium’ in Studio International, CLXXXV, 1973, pp.127–131 ( colour p.131)

This picture was painted, with its companion painting, ‘Glass II From There’, in the artist's studio, Francis Wharf, London SW1, from the latter part of 1970 to June 1971. It was the largest painting on canvas executed to date because of its extreme width; the height approximates that of previous paintings.

The consistency of Denny's development from the early 1960's is epitomized by the fact that any major stylistic changes occur simultaneously in all aspects of the paintings, such as imagery, colour and format.

The image or structure of this work, as in all Denny's paintings from 1965, is symmetrical, although its colouring is not-a signal feature of the group of paintings to which it belongs, made in 1970 and 1971, the larger among which share the common height of 108 inches.

The idea of an image sited low on the canvas, ‘downwardly-compressed’ (David Thompson Robyn Denny, Harmondsworth, 1971, p.42) was first introduced in ‘Drink Me’ 1965 (the first horizontal painting Denny had made since ‘Baby is Three’ 1960, T01730). ‘Drink Me’ therefore required that the spectator overtly recognize this by gazing downwards to appreciate the main complex of the ‘image’ at a normal viewing distance. However, this is not so radical as in T01919, for example, where the band of the image is little more than two feet from the ground. (The bottom of the canvas should not be hung more than 12 inches from the floor).

After 1965, the theme of the low image lay dormant until the relatively small paintings 1969–70, at which time a completely novel development occurred: the image became detached from the bottom edge of the painting, a feature restricted in the artist's oeuvre to several of the square ‘S’ paintings of 1960.

Nevertheless, as pointed out by Kudielka (op.cit. p.51), because the image is situated below an imaginary half-way line dividing the canvas horizontally, ‘The grounded quality is thus preserved without explicit anchoring’. However, the ‘floating’ or ‘detached’ image was not preserved in the group of paintings which followed, of which T01919 is one. Here the strongly attenuated image is once more physically ‘grounded’ accentuating its low position. In T01919 the ‘grounding’ is carried out through the most minimal means, merely a slight tonal modification of the dominant blue ground below and conforming to the main vertical divisions of the image itself.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978

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