You are here:

Soft Borders

Soft Borders

1997

Mark Tansey

(American, 1949-)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 269.1 x 217.2 x 5.8 cm (105 15/16 x 85 1/2 x 2 5/16 in.); Unframed: 265.7 x 214 cm (104 5/8 x 84 1/4 in.)

Dorothea Wright Hamilton Fund 1997.152

Description

With wit and irony, this painting reveals Mark Tansey's fascination with the nature of time, space, and painting itself. Against a mountain backdrop he painted four interrelated scenes: a small tribe of native Americans, an expedition of 19th-century surveyors and photographers, a group of tourists taking photographs and home movies, and a toxic waste-removal crew in protective clothing. Each scene is depicted from a different perspective. Shown here in the orientation preferred by the artist, the canvas can be hung in any of four positions. Tansey describes Soft Borders as a "short history of the West from four different points of view." Tansey is an avid reader and collector of visual information found in magazines, newspapers, and illustrated books. His knowledge and reference library of reproductions shape the many preliminary drawings and collages he makes before producing a final composition. Once the planning is finished, the time actually spent painting is brief---several days to several months. Tansey's palette is restricted to one color applied over a gessoed (plastered) canvas. He manipulates the paint with brushes and a variety of scraping tools, removing pigment until the white of the ground is visible, much like daylight shining through the fog. The overall effect has the spontaneous quality of a snapshot, but the world depicted is invented and subjective.

See also
Collection: 
CONTEMP - Painting
Department: 
Contemporary Art
Type of artwork: 
Painting
Medium: 
Oil on canvas

Contact us

Request a digital file from image services

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.