Things the mind already knows


In Reinhardt Dammn: Things the mind already knows, Scott Redford appropriates the colour television test pattern, a universal standard used to balance contrast, saturation, sharpness and tone on television monitors. The image is emblematic of a period from the mid 1970s to the early 1990s, when a test pattern would appear on Australian television screens after stations finished broadcasting for the night. Redford inversely invokes this symbol of uniformity to signify those who stay up late and live outside the demands of the conventional 9 to 5 daily work routine. The towering scale of the painting reinforces the omnipresence of television culture and its deep social influence in our lives.

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Scott Redford ‘Reinhardt Dammn: Things the mind already knows’ 2010

Scott Redford, Australia b.1962 / Reinhardt Dammn: Things the mind already knows 2010 / Enamel on aluminium / 22 panels: 420cm (diam., overall) / Gift of Dr Michael and Eva Slancar through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2011. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Scott Redford/Copyright Agency

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Making light of some of the most revered painters of the twentieth century, Redford transforms the icon of the test pattern into a grand artwork. By simplifying the motif, Redford draws parallels to the block colours and geometric compositions of European modernist painters, such as Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) and Josef Albers (1888–1976). The monumental scale and circle format also pays homage to the shaped canvases of the 1950s and 1960s of the American colour field painters Kenneth Noland (1924–2010), Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015) and Frank Stella (b.1936).