This unpainted plywood relief has a hole in the center of the front panel, showing the edges of the material as well as the space between the front of the work and the back.
This is the earlier of two “open-hole” reliefs from the group of thirteen reliefs made by Donald Judd in the 1980s and 1990s, and one of eight reliefs that are installed at the Ranch Office. The diameter of the hole in this work is eight inches, double the four-inch depth of the relief. The later open-hole relief, now in a private collection, has a hole diameter measuring one-fourth the height and width of the relief. Both works emphasize Judd’s utilization of number systems in determining the placement of found objects or, in this case, the absence of a found object. The opening itself allows a clear view into the interior space, and in this way is related to a work installed next to it at the Ranch Office, untitled, 1992, which contains a ten-inch cast iron disc with a one-inch center hole.
In a 1989 interview, Judd said, “I am very interested in the materials as materials, for themselves, for the quality they have, and retaining that quality, not losing it.”1
Judd’s first objects in plywood, such as untitled, 1963, were painted in cadmium red light oil. It was not until 1972 that Judd began making works in unpainted sheets of plywood. As he later noted, “We go to a great deal of trouble to get a certain kind of plywood and the details of the construction are so unusual that the carpentry has become unique.”2