R. H. Quaytman
R. H. Quaytman’s paintings interweave archival imagery and abstract patterns to evoke expansive narratives. Although they can be viewed individually, Quaytman organizes her work into “chapters” that share an underlying theme and frequently respond to a specific place. For Point de Gaze, Chapter 23, several subjects inform one another and refer back to the site for which the works were produced, a 2012 exhibition at Gladstone Gallery in Brussels.
The first subject relates to Brazilian artist Lygia Clark’s small sculpture Estruturas de Caixa de Fosforos (Matchbox structures, 1964), which Quaytman exaggerates in scale. Clark’s work is owned by Barbara Gladstone, linking it to the site of the first exhibition of this chapter. Secondly, Quaytman explores the cultural history of the Beguines, a lay order of women active in the Netherlands in the 13th and 14th centuries, by re-creating their headpieces. The artist-made replicas—which traditionally masked the Beguines’ faces—were worn by the artist’s friend, photographed by the artist, and then incorporated into silkscreened images of the final work. In another work Quaytman examines the history of lace-making in Belgium; lace was produced by the Beguines as a source of income. As each motif intertwines in this chapter—itself named after a form of needlepoint that originated in Brussels—the works unfold a subtle meditation on painting as both an object for display and a model for historical inquiry.