laying bare the creative process


Here’s what I like about William Noland’s current work: I like the way he lays bare the creative process. You’ve never been here in western New York when the Town of Amherst lays down a sidewalk. I like that moment when the concrete is still wet. They have to put wood against the concrete to keep the concrete in place, and to reinforce those boards they use steel. William Noland’s work has this same wonderful informal quality to it, as if the artist was in the middle of making something and then couldn’t quite make up his mind.

It’s not just the ambiguities in his art that I admire. I admire his drawing and his sense of proportion. Notice how unashamed he is of the rectangle. Look at that wooden box he put right in the middle of that rectilinear frame. Notice the angle. Notice how the steel reinforces the wood.

As a sculptor, Noland is not an apologist; he is the genuine article. He does understand three-dimensional unity. I’m not saying that I liked everything I saw in his studio. Sometimes the frames of his sculptures are too heavy. What one cherishes in his art is the lightness of his touch—nonetheless, when he gets bottom heavy, the result is magic.

 Valentin Tatransky, 2008