Methyl Phenylsulfoxide is a woodcut print from Damien Hirst’s 12 Woodcut Spots series from 2010. The print shows five rows of eight perfect circles arranged methodically in a rectangular composition. The series represents abstraction reduced to its most basic mechanisms: colour, form and composition.
The spot paintings represent a departure in Hirst’s career from years of experimenting with paint and collage and are considered some of his most important and famous series of works. To create these works, Hirst slowly began to employ assistants and his aim was to evoke a lack of human or artistic touch. The sense of endlessness in the series is reflected in the way that Hirst made the spot paintings look like they were created ‘by a person trying to paint like a machine.’
Fascinated by intuitive colour choice from his days at Goldsmiths, Hirst claims that the spot paintings have removed any problems he previously had with colour, allowing him to present a perfect arrangement of colour that is never repeated. Bromobenzotrifluoride is a study in colour contrast and harmony. It is striking in its simplicity and it prompts the viewer to think about colour, form and composition.