Sanford Wurmfeld: E-Cyclorama, Immersed in Color, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY

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Sanford Wurmfeld, E-Cyclorama, 2007-2008
Installation view, Edinburgh College of Art
Photo: Antonia Reeve

May 31 – July 19, 2009

“To describe E-Cyclorama as a painting by Sanford Wurmfeld on the inside of a huge cylinder is to miss the point. This massive panorama of color, viewed by stepping inside the cylinder, makes it possible to experience the power, dynamics and beauty of color.

On the cylinder’s walls, color moves through the entire spectrum, but the transitions are so subtle that it is impossible to be sure where one color ends and the next begins. Color becomes intense, independent and dynamic—a sort of surround-sound painting.

As the eye moves across the painted surface, the impact of the shifting color is enhanced by the changes of depth and distance, increasing the uncertainty of what is really being seen. The effect is hypnotic.

The cyclorama is a twenty-first century version of the once popular nineteeth century panorama paintings which were inspired by the original concept invented by Robert Barker in Edinburgh in 1787.

The “E” stands for elliptical, its oval shape inspired, according to the artist, by the oval plan found in Baroque churches. The effect is baroque, too, as the form exaggerates the optical illusions of the work. Wurmfeld spent a year painting E-Cyclorama. On close inspection, one can see why: the slight variations in tone were precisely measured and meticulously applied.”

–Duncan MacMillan, Curator of E-Cyclorama at Edinburgh College of Art

The exhibition at the Neuberger also includes 41 mid-size paintings from 1971-2005 displaying the evolution of color ideas in Sanford Wurmfeld’s work.