To begin, let's describe it: we are looking at a painting of a square registered against a square canvas. It is, at first, a seemingly stable figure ground, a relationship that could be described through on/off, 1/0, black/white. Only, this painting is not black and white; it is white and white; and therefore it isn't stable. One could as a result also say that there are two squares added together, one on top of the other, producing a layered effect of two figures; or that there is a square subtracted from another square, forming a donut, a figure with a hole in it; or that the figure is not even present, only its shadow, dropped from an object beyond the grasp of the canvas displaying the ground alone. The tonal difference of white produces a flickering between the figure and the ground. Whether or not we agree that the composition is a figure/ground, a figure/figure, or a ground/ground is not important to us. What is important and is stable in all interpretations, is the notion that this painting is about that difference, through form and tone, producing a distance or a depth between the two.
Designed in collaboration with Janette Kim; executed by SaA. Photos by Naho Kubota.