Construction No. 15

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Oil on canvas on board
1310 x 1050mm

Thornley’s first Constructions date from 1977. In the works, he attempted to counter the diffuse colour and spatial expansiveness of his earlier paintings, concentrating on material particularity. Atmospheric effects were replaced by sharp edges and densely coloured smooth surfaces.

Thornley used finely textured polyester canvas stretched and folded around the edges of thin plywood sheets. The polyester was then gessoed to create a plaster-like smoothness that absorbed slowly applied layers of colour, giving a staining effect. Each work exhibits a strong sense of its definite physical limits; the integration of the component parts is clearly visible, showing separateness held under pressure.

Each piece of a Thornley Construction is seen through various overlappings or dislocations. In the later Dyads (after 1986), these become perforations. Thornley often employs opposed verticals, horizontals, diagonals and planes of colour to achieve contrast between elements within a work and with the surrounding architecture.

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CONSTRUCTION NO 15. 1980/1981. / 131 x 105. / Thornley [verso]