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Consistent Monochromes: Painting by Henry Codax

An installation view of several colorful monochromesUntitled (installation view at Office Baroque, Antwerp, Belgium)

Henry Codax is a painter who is best known for his large, unflinchingly consistent monochromes. The artist develops his monochromes with an attitude that belies the serious, academic tone that this style of painting is often known for, instead viewing the planes of color as outwardly referential and accessible.

A photo of several silver gradient canvases on a gallery wallUntitled (installation view at Martos Gallery, New York, NY)

The arrangement of the canvases next to one another on the wall seems to be an important factor in Codax’s work. In most of the artist’s gallery shows, numerous canvases are positioned in close relation on the same wall. In some cases, five or six canvases next to each other on a wall will create a gradient, with each canvas painted in a slightly lighter shade of a color than the previous, or with each actually containing a smaller-scale gradient that echoes the larger composition.


Codax himself is notably reclusive (Henry Codax is, itself, a pseudonym) and is known for having a gallery show without any press release, artist biography, or even a list of works. The works themselves are delightfully reminiscent of Barnett Newman, or even the monochromes of Ian Wallace, though tonally quite different.

An installation view of some pink and yellow monochromesStrawberry Lemonade (installation view at Everybody, Tucson, AZ)

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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