Tag Archives: painter

Painting: Max Schmidtlein

Max Schmidtlein

Max Schmidtlein

Max Schmidtlein, Hallo, 2014 and Head and Shoulders, 2015

Max Schmidtlein’s solo exhibition Detox Plus is a highly contemporary painting exhibition. ‘Not another “contemporary” painting show’, you might say. Yet more painting that wants to do everything differently. Painting that acts oh so aware of media issues and its own implication in the mechanisms of both on- and offline circulation – but in the end turns out to be just that: implicated. While these grumbles may be warranted, perhaps this exhibition is different.

Detox Plus not only looks cheap, it is: made, in fact, on a shoe-string budget. Nine works are on view, eight of them almost the same size and similar in appearance. The longish canvases of thin black fabric (bought on sale at Karstadt, apparently) are used sometimes vertically, sometimes horizontally; all are painted using products from the pharmacy chain dm. The only work that’s not a painting is a deceptively real light box bearing the dm logo, installed outside the gallery (dm, as all works from 2015).

The titles of the works are derived from the respective products used in their manufacture, for example Head and Shoulders, the exhibition’s most representational painting. True to its punning title, the work depicts the head and shoulders of a human figure on a black background, while the body for the most part disappears beneath a white, nearly rectangular spot of colour (made of sham­poo and conditioner from the corresponding brand, together with chalk, oil, and acrylic paint). Contrastingly, Balea is almost abstract. The hint of a hand can be made out and one can’t help but search the glittery, slippery-looking splotch for traces of lotions and bath products from the eponymous personal hygiene brand. For Profissimo, a cleaning product from the dm in-store household range was used. The work depicts a kitchen knife and a pack of cigarettes. And in The Beauty Effect, one detects a reclining figure stretching its arms over a head resembling an irregular square on which a mixture of anti-acne cream, essential oils, and perfumed wax has been applied. If you get up close to the canvases, you can even smell the products.

While this might sound like a sequence of cheap one-liners, the target quickly becomes clear. The focus is less the craze for wellness and detox than the current ubiquity of what is largely, ostensibly, conceptual (and for the most part abstract) meta-painting. In other words, the joke works despite the collision of cheap material and cheap concept, not through it. It’s a form of meta-meta-painting, if you like. Perhaps in a similar vein to what the Reena Spaulings pranksters have come up with for their concurrent Later Seascapes show on view at Berlin’s Galerie Neu – four ‘Zombie Formalist’ abstract canvases painted by robot vacuum cleaners. These works, too, are one-liners: a commentary on painting through painting. Whereas by now Reena Spaulings’ project might come across as the self-reflexive one-upmanship of cynical jokes – their subversive aspect lost largely due to the position of power they’ve achieved at the heart of the art establishment – Schmidtlein’s exhibition feels quite different: more the stunt of a mischievous court jester than a grimly nihilistic gesture by the sovereign.

Schmidtlein might make use of the prevailing short-circuit between material and concept, but he intersects it at the formal level by using deliberately sloppy figuration. Rather than a slick, decorative abstraction based on a tired conceptual superstructure – the automatization of a painting process whose insistence on expressivity has long since ceased to be anything more than appearance – here are helpless, sad, ghostly figures that attempt, apparently without much success, to breathe new life into their tired, dirty bodies with cheap synthetic hygiene products. At the same time, and in the midst of all this dreariness, Schmidtlein’s paintings are also far removed from the colourful canvases in which today’s painters have tried to restore figuration through comic form, using googly eyes and cute monsters to poke fun at conveyer-belt abstraction.

Ultimately, Schmidtlein’s show too is a grinning meta-commentary on the ubiquitous genre of conceptual painting. One, however, that doesn’t cynically turn itself into a robo-cleaner messing around with the dirt on the gallery floor, only then to sell that same dirt. Instead these paintings use the mud of a €1.99 face-mask: a kind of fresh-cell therapy in a low-grade drugstore spirit. Lo and behold, beneath it all a young and tender skin actu­ally does appear. What’s the dm slogan that puts it so well? ‘This is where I’m a person, this is where I shop.’ And that’s miles away from painting bots.

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Artist: Ida Ekblad

Ida Ekbaldida ekblad artist

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Ida Ekblad, Untitled 2012,  Untitled, 2011 and Installation View, Untitled, 2011

Norwegian artist Ida Ekblad just finished her solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Oslo this week. In the official press release her work  is referred to as being “frequently process oriented and her artistic practice is often described as spontaneous and chance-based.  Items seemingly discarded on scrapheaps as worthless are given new meaning through recycling in a work of art with other qualities and connotations. Her works oscillate between an unrestrained imagination and her familiarity with, and allusions to, an art-historical tradition.”

For this exhibition, Ekblad used the museum as her studio, producing more than 30 works in situ. These new works improvise a performative architecture out of industrial debris, found objects and shopping carts. Reference to John Chamberlain and Anthony Caro can be noted as Ida Ekblad present her version of scrap-hunting sculpture. As the shopping charts where rolled onto canvas and paint, each shopping chart has  its own specific painting which is displayed later as a series of large scale paintings along the walls.

Also exhibited was Ekblad’s paintings of the past five years, in particular, are courageous demonstrations of the relevance and feasibility of an expressive artistic gesture. She works in a variety of media. Painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and poetry, simultaneously and without hierarchical distinction.

Ekblad works in a process-oriented manner, and her approach is often described as spontaneous and fearless. She creates installations, sculptures and collage- and assemblage-like pieces from fragments and objects that she finds along the roadside and at construction sites nearby the places she is working. Things that have apparently lost their value and been thrown away often acquire a new meaning by being re-used in a work of art imbued with other qualities and connotations.

Ida Ekblad (b. Oslo, 1980; lives and works in Oslo) is educated at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, 2007, and at the Mountain School of Arts, Los Angeles, USA, 2008. Still an emerging artist, Ekblad has already received international recognition participating in museum exhibitions around the world.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the National Museum in Oslo, Kunstmuseum Luzern and De Vleeshal, Middelburg. It is accompanied by a 160-page catalogue published by Distanz Verlag, Berlin, with poems by Ida Ekblad and contributions by Fanni Fetzer, Andrea Kroksnes, Quinn Latimer, and Barry Schwabsky.

Nasjonalmuseet presents Ida Ekblad’s first extensive museum exhibition. The exhibition continues the museum’s series showcasing younger Norwegian contemporary artists.

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Artist: Nikolas Gambaroff

Artist Nikolas Gambaroff

Artist Nikolas Gambaroff

Nikolas Gambaroff, Untitled, 2011 and exhibition view of Tools for Living, 2012

Artist Nikolas Gambaroff work questions the process of painting and its support structures by deconstructing and re-evaluating traditional methods of production and display.

As Gambaroff himself puts it, “In my work I try to dissect, deconstruct, and re-evaluate (mainly within the limits of the activity painting) the customs, expectations and myths that painting as part of our visual culture brings along.”
Works that ostensibly echo the age-old impetus of subjective self-expression are, therefore, conceived as platforms through which to question notions of authorship, distribution and exposition alongside issues such as the social and economic value of art itself.

In addition, Gambaroff’s “staging of the space that a viewer experiences painting in” is designed less to highlight interplay amongst the works themselves, than focus particularly on “the problems of support structures in art (material/architectural but also ideological).”
The introduction of elements from ‘outside’ the traditional compass of painting provides further opportunities to deconsecrate and demystify painterly production in order to debate the mechanisms that confer artistic status.

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Jeff Koones: Metallic Venus

Jeff Koones Metallic Venus

Jeff Koones, Metallic Venus, 2010-2012. Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating and live flowering plants

Jeff Koons is reaching back into art history with his new series “Antiquity,” exploring the goddess of love in huge glossy metallic sculptures such as the turquoise Metallic Venus.

Jeff Koons: The Painter and Sculptor was showing at two venues in Germany’s banking capital (20 June-23September 2012).  Sculptures towering over ancient figures in Frankfurt’s Liebieghaus museum, where Koons’s work was interspersed among sculptures from antiquity to the 19th century.

Jeff Koons plays with ideas of taste, pleasure, celebrity, and commerce. “I believe in advertisement and media completely,” he says. “My art and my personal life are based in it.” Working with seductive commercial materials (such as the high chromium stainless steel of his “Balloon Dog” sculptures or his vinyl “Inflatables”), shifts of scale, and an elaborate studio system involving many technicians, Koons turns banal objects into high art icons. His paintings and sculptures borrow widely from art-historical techniques and styles; although often seen as ironic or tongue-in-cheek, Koons insists his practice is earnest and optimistic. “I’ve always loved Surrealism and Dada and Pop, so I just follow my interests and focus on them,” he says. “When you do that, things become very metaphysical.” The “Banality” series that brought him fame in the 1980s included pseudo-Baroque sculptures of subjects like Michael Jackson with his pet ape, while his monumental topiaries, like the floral Puppy (1992), reference 17th-century French garden design.

https://www.artsy.net/artist/jeff-koons

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