Reena Spaulings often presents a provisional alternative to the role of the artist presented by the market and to the traditional notion of authenticity. In order to introduce a different authority to the concept of authorship the artist has frequently adopted the practice of commissioning a third party or entity to execute their work.
In their Michael paintings from 2011, Michael Sanchez, a Ph.D student and critic, was used as a living brush, evoking Yves Klein’s pinceau vivant technique from 1960. In the Holzweg series, a faux wood grain was obtained through applying a pattern, referencing John Knight’s work, décor painting, and do-it-yourself techniques.
The works in “Later Seascapes” were made with the help of a floor-mopping robot. Its spinning brush covers the surface of the canvas and leaves painted traces of every change of direction. Klein’s human brush is replaced by an automated mop that leaves an erratic and mechanical stroke. The colour range of the works was inspired by JMW Turner’s stormy skies and his effects of darkness, as a way to evoke a palette of conventionally British subdued tones.
Reena Spaulings’ work is part of the permanent collection of MoMA, New York and the French Government Collection FRAC. Past exhibitions include Dystopia at Museé d’art Contemporain de Bordeaux (2011); Pop Life at Tate Modern, London (2009) and How to Cook a Wolf, a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich (2007).
The artist’s work is featured in the most recent edition of Art Since 1900 edited by Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois and Benjamin Buchloh.