Callum Innes

Untitled No 51


Not on display

Callum Innes born 1962
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1250 × 1210 mm
Presented by the artist 2011


Untitled No 51 2011 is painted in oil paint on canvas. The composition is divided vertically into two unequal areas of colour that meet in a rough line with a black undertone. On the left, an intense red sets up a vibrant contrast with the paler, more sober plane on the right. The edge between these two contrasting colours appears raw or unfocused. This works to enhance the intensity of the painting, activating its surface and giving it a sense of depth, movement and texture. All around the edge of the canvas Innes has applied a spill of red that delineates the limit of the painting.

Untitled No 51 belongs to a series of works that was begun in 2008. The works in this series, which also includes Untitled No 39 2010 (Tate T13305), are close in technique and structure to the Exposed Paintings series that the artist made in the late 1990s, of which Exposed Painting Paynes Grey/Yellow Oxide/Red Oxide on White 1999 (Tate T07557) is an example. In this earlier 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 subtle 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 his later works, particularly rich blue, striking yellow and intense red. 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, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh 2006.
Richard Ingleby, Callum Innes: I Look to You, exhibition catalogue, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh 2009.

Carmen Juliá
July 2011

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