Mangold's paintings of the mid-1960s are closely aligned with Minimalism in their object-like treatment of the painting support and impersonal paint application. In the pictures which he called 'Walls', begun in 1964, he eliminated painted images and cut asymmetrical 'doors' and 'windows' out of wood sheets and sprayed the surface with paint to produce a nuanced monochrome. 'Areas', which he began in 1965, were even more Minimal. Composed of standard masonite panels butted together, the support as physical object could not be overlooked. As Mangold said, 'whatever other structural decisions were made I knew the work would have a seam very four feet'.1 In the summer of 1966 Mangold further increased the contribution of the support in the 'Area' paintings by shaping it. The painting ¼ manila curved area — a typically dead-pan inventory of the physical attributes of the work — is composed of two sheets of plywood-backed masonite butted together and cut along the bottom edge to form a quarter segment of a circle. The surface is painted with oil paint thinned with turpentine and sprayed on with an airbrush. The colour is brown manila.
Although on previous occasions this painting has been published and exhibited with the date 1967, the artist has confirmed the inscribed 1966 dating on the reverse of the painting as contemporaneous and correct.2 The 1966 date is also confirmed by the fact that ¼ manila curved area appeared in Mangold's second solo exhibition at Fischbach Gallery, New York, which opened in October of that year.
Michael Lloyd & Michael Desmond European and American Paintings and Sculptures 1870-1970 in the Australian National Gallery 1992 p.362.
- Robin White, 'Robert Mangold' (interview), View, vol. 1, no. 1, December 1978, p.6.
- Robert Mangold, correspondence with the Gallery through Douglas Baxter, 18 December 1986.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010