Though not strictly representational, some objectsin Untitled (1962) are recognizable: a flower, an egg, a foot. The arrows and directional lines suggest movement, but the forms they point to intertwine, prohibiting a straightforward reading. The shapes are as illustrative as a Rorschach inkblot; in their confounding, simple indeterminacy, they depict nothing and everything at once.
Born in Berkeley and educated at California College of the Arts, John McCracken was a pioneer of American Minimalism and is often associated with the Light and Space movement. His plank pieces—high-gloss, lacquered, monochromatic monoliths that lean against the wall—defy the boundary between painting and sculpture, object and viewer. Their bases rest in the observer’s space, and their varnished surfaces reflect the surrounding environment. Though best known for his bright colors and polished aesthetic, McCracken’s body of work is diverse, ranging from minimalist sculpture to abstract painting. The work is consistently characterized by a search for simplicity, beauty, and the sublime.