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Grid Five

Thomas Downing (American, 1928-1985)

Created: 2012
Materials:Acrylic on unprimed canvas
Dimensions: H 96.25" x W 128.5"

Gift of Richard R. Silvin. 1980.237.1

For Thomas Downing, painting involved what he referred to as “a practice of timelessness... It is a highly disciplined practice, emphasizing repetition, participation, reflection, and exquisite attention to subtlety and endless variations.” A member of the 1960s Washington Color School, a group of Washington, D.C. artists who were primarily concerned with color, Downing had a dual obsession. Color and shape, namely the circle, were two of the formal challenges to which he dedicated his entire career. In Grid Five, Downing uses the singular form of the circle, repeated in variations of color and subtle patterning within a grid-like structure, illustrating several components of his concept of timelessness.