A rigorous control process was used to make this “day/night” diptych painting. Nickel wanted to place four qualitatively different triangles within a rectangle and reproduce them in two different settings, while spacing the points equally along the borders. Thus, each triangle has three different angles, and each of the total of 12 angles is different in degree while their apexes are equally spaced along the edges. This painting helped Nickel work out a process for his string paintings” — where to place the strings, what color spray sequence to use, and how dense a weave pattern to achieve. He was reacting, he has said, to a “delusional process” in abstract expressionist art, where artists and viewers are to see and feel basic emotions — fear, love, hate, remorse, longing, loss. He was more interested in the pre-process.

Four Triangles, Twelve Different Angles

1975
St. Louis, Missouri
Sprayed acrylic and oil on canvas
H: 12 in. x W: 43.5 in.

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