Callum Innes

Untitled No 39


Not on display

Callum Innes born 1962
Oil paint on canvas
Unconfirmed: 2220 × 2200 mm
Purchased with funds provided by the Nicholas Themans Trust 2011


Untitled No 39 is divided vertically into two large planes of colour that meet at the centre of the composition in a rough line with a black undertone. On the left half of the painting, a vivid yellow sets up a buzzing contrast with the more sober white area on the right. The edge between these two contrasting colours appears raw or blurred, giving the surface of the painting a sense of depth, movement, layering and texture. All around the edge of the canvas Innes has applied a spill of yellow that adds to the luminosity of the painting.

Untitled No 39 belongs to a series of works that was begun in 2008. The works in this series are close in technique and structure to the Exposed Paintings series the artist made in the late 1990s, such as Exposed Painting Paynes Grey/Yellow Oxide/Red Oxide on White 1999 (Tate T07557). In this painting the canvas is divided vertically into two halves and paint is layered across it and then dissolved away from a central point with turpentine, working horizontally from the bottom up. The most obvious, physical, change in the later series is the presence of a layer of dissolved black beneath every element in the composition, ingraining the canvas with a silvery-grey sparkle. This small change suggests a roughness that, together with the use of a heavier brush stroke, gives the work a less studied feel. The artist has also introduced new colours in the later works, particularly rich blue and striking yellow. Writing about this series, Richard Ingleby has observed: ‘With the simple vertical dividing line and the monochromatic insistence on black ... these new paintings seem simultaneously simplified and intensified – the ingredients seem further reduced, but his use of them reaches a new pitch and as always the clues to the works’ success are in the edges of the dissolve where colours and texture meet.’ (Ingleby 2009, p.46).

Further reading
Callum Innes: From Memory, exhibition catalogue, The Fruitmarket
Gallery, Edinburgh 2006.
Richard Ingleby, Callum Innes: I Look to You, exhibition catalogue,
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh 2009.

Carmen Juliá
July 2010

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