Tense and Spaced Out

Tense and Spaced Out
Polar Nights, Glacial Chaos, and the Ecology of Misery

Blake Rayne


May 2017
Sequence Press, Sternberg Press, and 
Blaffer Art Museum
Designed by Geoff Kaplan
Edited by Katherine Pickard and Tim Saltarelli
Texts by John Kelsey, David Lewis, Jaleh Mansoor, Laura Owens, Sean Paul, and Javier Sánchez Martínez 
Softcover w/ flaps 8.5 in. x 11 in., 205 pp., 1161 color images
ISBN 978-3-95679-326-4 

Special Edition of ten copies, with an original drawing.

Blake Rayne’s paintings stem from the generative duplicity of words like Script, Folder, Application, Dissolve and Screen. These operative terms situate the work between forms of linguistic description and the history of reflexive material practices in art. He begins from an orientation that considers the terms “painter” and “painting” as fictions. They have no stable material definition, but rather are shaped by evolving social, institutional and physical relations. Rayne’s mode of abstract painting is irrevocably marked by Conceptual art. Here, context is constitutive. Conceived as a work, this monograph covers the last ten years of the artist’s output and culminates in his first survey exhibition at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Texas.

Shifting sequences of varying material treatments guide us through the linguistic, institutional and physical relations that have shaped Rayne’s painting practice. The book is united under the structuring sign of cinema, with each section existing like a shot in a film, if you will, that is necessarily informed by and in dialogue with those that come before and after it:

  • an opening sequence of particular series and individual paintings, moving through different operative terms, such as Crumple, Cut or Fold, that produce a dialectic between word and painterly gesture;
  • an accounting of specific exhibitions and works through a series of pamphlets;
  • an autonomous magazine dedicated to Rayne’s Almanac (2013), itself a hard cover, hand-bound book of eight felt double page spreads with an ‘a’ line cut that collapses under its own weight;
  • documentation of Rayne’s Blaffer Art Museum exhibition produced by a group of twenty-nine area high school students;
  • a closing sequence of installation views from the survey show.

The main essays by John Kelsey and Jaleh Mansoor respectively situate Rayne’s art within the urban cultural circumstances of New York during the last decade, and his specific position as a painter in relation to other painters of his generation, such as Cheyney Thompson. Mansoor further skillfully places the artist in a wider historical context. Shorter texts by gallerist David Lewis, artists Laura Owens and Sean Paul, as well as curator Javier Sánchez Martínez, illuminate other aspects of Rayne’s work, and weave together a range of ideas and tones, from the history of corporate design to the rise of automation; from a lighthearted intervention about “The Rule of Blake” to a museum catalogue introduction.

Blake Rayne was born in Lewes, Delaware, in 1969, and lives and works in New York. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts, and was the Director of Graduate Studies at Columbia University’s School of Visual Arts from 2003 to 2009. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Artists Space, SculptureCenter, The Kitchen, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Künstlerhaus, Graz; Bergen Kunsthall; and the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston. Rayne’s paintings are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, FRAC Poitou-Charentes and the Portland Museum of Art.


Möbius Strip by Laura Owens
This Side of Paradise by David Lewis
Table of Contents
Selected Exhibitions
Empedocles/Hölderlin, Cézanne/Gasquet, Straub/Huillet, Dominique Païni & Blake Rayne: Two Films, One Text & Paintings
The Disappearance of Red Pistachio Shells at the Dawn of the California Nut Industry (1979)
Dust of Suns
Folder and Application
Coastal Graphics
Shade Subscription
A Line
This is New York City
This Is New York City by Sean Paul
The Letter Of The Law, Interrupted, or What Is Real Abstraction? by Jaleh Mansoor
Wild Country
A Whole New Season of Lost
On Fridays We Have Half Days
Peaceful Photographers
A Translucence Program by Javier Sánchez Martínez
Social Practice Class
Street Easy by John Kelsey