Christopher Wool

"I think of myself primarily as an abstract painter, but I find that in making paintings there is a little bit of investigation into what abstract painting can be."

While best known for his large black stenciled letters on white canvases, Christopher Wool's oeuvre encompasses photographs, prints, artist's books, and sculpture. Though he grew up in Chicago, Wool moved to New York City around the age of eighteen. The energy of the city and the downtown art scene in the 1980s greatly affected his work. His word paintings, inspired by graffiti on a white truck, can be viewed as syntactic abstractions as they sometimes lack vowels or feature erratic spacing, in some cases necessitating sounding out the words mentally or out loud. They confront the viewer with anxious imperatives, and as such are related to the urban vernacular and city life. In the 1990s, Wool focused on silkscreen as his primary technique, while in the 2000s he created abstract gray paintings with masses of black lines blurred over a hazy background, in some cases reworking images of his own finished paintings through digital screen-printing. Wool's work is united by continually questioning the limits of painting in the age of mass-production and technology.