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Charline von Heyl
Double-M, Double-X brings together the work of ten very different artists in a stimulating and eclectic presentation, celebrating the breadth, diversity and vitality of contemporary painting
Charline von Heyl
In the early ’90s, while working in Düsseldorf, Charline von Heyl emerged as a key voice in the heated debate surrounding the vitality of painting with a practice that pursued and sharpened the critique of painterly authenticity begun by artists such as Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen. Since then von Heyl has remained committed, on a painting by painting basis, to building new visual worlds, compositions that seem to arrive from nowhere. Abstract shapes, figurative gestures, symbols and motifs are collaged in ways that suggest serpentine puzzles. The paintings ask to be read but perhaps from any direction and at any speed. We see this independent voice emerge in the '90s with paintings such as this, 'Untitled', 1996. It celebrates the joy of mark-making, the immediacy of drawing, the powerful allure of colour and the abiding mystery that is painting itself.
Since the 1980's Leiko Ikemura has created an immersive, mythic visual world fluent in eastern and western traditions of image-making and storytelling. Figures, usually women, children and animals or apparent hybrids appear as magical, chimerical creatures that float, unmoored or suspended. These drifting figures seem to be searching for a grounded place in limitless, atmospheric landscapes. Time and time again Ikemura's creations dance in and out of focus, at once coming into being and then dissolving into their surroundings. These paintings have an intense dreamlike quality with unfamiliar composition, unrestrained colour and fractured stories. Narratives often remain, tantalisingly, just out of reach.
‘Night’, like some other related new paintings by James, is painted with ash. This is a novel material for the artist, though he frequently employs other unusual substances such as hair and dust. The painting depicts the house where the artist lives and works, and the river, trees and bridge that are close to it. Such elements have appeared in his pictures from the beginning – the gable-end of a building, tall, isolated trees, stretches of water, bridges of various kinds. They function openly and metaphorically, as much as, or more than ‘autobiographical’ references. Other recent works are apparently more abstract, though also often with landscape associations, and atmospheres that might suggest poetic sentiment. Figures also appear, or half appear. Distinctive, integral picture frames continue to characterise James’s work, as does his experimentation with transparent painting surfaces, and the ambiguous deepening or dissolving of the picture plane. His latest paintings are at once among his most personal and most aesthetically speculative.
In his new series, 'Arizona' Brian Maguire continues his critique of contemporary capitalism, painting images based on events at the southern border of the USA. Some five years ago Maguire began to research the annual fatalities of Central American migrants in the deserts around Tucson, Arizona. The numbers of those who have died are frightening, the recent annual average is 145 deaths. In September 2019 Maguire made contact with the Chief Medical Officer of Pima County who allowed access to the images of the dead which were originally created by law enforcement. From 500 cases Maguire selected 90 as an archive from which to create these paintings. The dead remain anonymous to protect the families privacy.
Isabel Nolan’s new paintings are erupting, colourful landscapes, dissolved urban spaces or scenes that try to paint an impossible cosmic perspective into existence. They paint disorder and collapse into something beautiful but not cogent or explicable. Nolan has described the impetus to make them as a paradoxical desire to imagine how the world might look when humans are not around. Nolan’s work consistently picks away at the blunting coherence of our human perspective as applied to the wildness and strangeness of nature. 'View (with eyes closed)' feels both intimate and cosmic, a landscape of colliding, looped forms and forces, a world or worlds simultaneously coalescing and disintegrating. Exploring fundamental tensions that operate in painting – figuration meets abstraction - the making of these works is in itself a metaphor for the ways we try to mould or force the world into being meaningful.
In a 1942 Irish Times review of Nano Reid's work Thomas MacGreevy declared ‘Her work will, without doubt, as the years go on, still grow richer in content and still more pointed in the matter of style; but already everything she does, whether in oils or water-colours, has artistic validity, and every statement she makes, whether with brush or pencil, has an "edge" to it.’ Almost 80 years on the work is every bit as valid and still retains its 'edge'. There is a modesty and an honesty in both the content and language that has resulted in a body of work that seems to sit apart from style or fashion. There is also an immediacy and economy in the paint and on the surface that has not aged. 'Loafers' 1960 is a perfect example. Two figures lean 'loafing' on a bridge perhaps relaxing, chatting or gazing into the water. A calm scene, perhaps, yet Reid's painting is vigorous. Painterly brush marks swirl to suggest startled birds or a violent eddy but there is more. In the hands of Reid, these 'Loafers' are gazing at paint itself as it spins and turns around them generating the world they come to inhabit.
We thank the Drogheda Municipal Art Collection at the Highlanes Gallery for the generous loan of this work.
'Wall Red Red', is a shinning, beacon-like example of Sean Scully's ongoing contribution to the position of contemporary abstract painting. Born out of a watercolour made on the beach in Zihuatanejo in 1984, the 'Wall of Light' series has come to be foundational in the artist's singular path through the clashing legacies of Abstract Expressionism and American Minimalism. Scully imbues the architecture of minimalism with the emotional energy of expressionism making work that Michael Auping argues; 'require a different way of looking at abstraction not as a continual advancement into purely visual effects, but as a genre that holds memory, in some cases vast memory.' This is true of 'Wall Red Red' as it wants to explode with colour and gesture but like so much of Scully's work is restrained. There is a structure that renders each decision relational and meaningful. The black needs the red, the red needs the orange and so on. Each brush mark depends upon another, each colour relates to another in a plentiful but nuanced field of paint.
Trevor Shimizu's diverse output in recent years makes him somewhat of shapeshifter, finding a voice in painting, video installation and work online, reflecting on identity and desire in an age of fast-moving social media. What unites his output is a language born out of the urgency of such a mediated existence. His language is one of spare mark-making, loose painterly washes and direct rapid-fire brushwork. The immediacy of his painterly approach is disarming, playful, relaxed but always considered and intentional. For critic Roberta Smith these landscapes convey the artist's 'passion for both his medium and nature'. In 'Eucalyptus' we see that passion for painting and contemplation at work. Known for its elegant vertical structure the Eucalyptus tree has a delicate, elevated canopy allowing more sun through to the undergrowth than most other trees. Shimizu renders the dappled shadows and the fragile flora with an astonishing economy and sensitivity creating a painting filled with lush growth and an abundance of light.
Before applying any paint Caragh Thuring builds images into the canvas itself. In 'Desire lines' Thuring begins by weaving the image of a New Mexico landscape into the fabric of the work. As in the cinematic history, it calls to mind, the landscape becomes both an epic backdrop and a character in the story. The subsequent painting is a built thing, mystifying in its marriage of the handcraft, mechanised image-making and the artist's painterly touch. In this particular work, that which is painted is a close-up study of another woven fabric, tartan. The pattern dominates the sky and finds its reflection in the desert ground. There is a clash of worlds here as well as a clash of techniques. Desire Lines is the product of a magnificent hybrid.
Liliane Tomasko’s abstract paintings have long explored our various emotional and physiological states, the latency of our dream world and the power of our memories. Tomasko often begins with a study of the personal effects of everyday domesticities such as bedding or clothing to create work that suggests a gateway into the realms of sleep and dreaming; delving into the gulf between what we understand as the ‘conscious’ and ‘subconscious.’ This new painting is part of a series the artist began earlier in 2020 during 'lockdown', rooted in the physical world but attempting a departure from it with an intensity of energy, bold lyricism, and Tomasko's distinctive unabashed sense of colour. Under the collective title ‘Hold on to yourself’ these paintings echo the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' song of the same name that cries out for a future where one can lie down with and hold another person again.
CHARLINE VON HEYL
b. 1960, Mainz, Germany
Solo exhibitions include Snake Eyes, Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, USA, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurl and Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany (all 2018); Now or Else, Tate Liverpool, UK and Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, USA (all 2012); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, USA (2011), Le jour de boire est arrivé, Le Consortium Centre d'Art Contemporain, Dijon, France (2009)and Concentrations 48, Dallas Museum of Art, USA (2005)
Group shows include Forever Young – 10 Jahre Museum Brandhorst (curated by Patrizia Dander), Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany (2019); MCA DNA: Riot Grrrls, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Less Than One, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis(both USA, 2016); The Forever Now. Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2014)and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014).
b.1951, Tsu, Mie Prefecture, Japan.
Solo exhibitions include 'from East to East', Kunsthalle Rostock (2020), IN PRAISE OF LIGHT, St.Matthäuskirche, Kulturforum Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany (2020); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2019); Märchenwald, German Ceramics Museum, Hetjens, Düsseldorf, Germany (2017); Poetics of Form, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, USA (2016); All About Girls and Tigers, Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, Germany (2015); Leiko Ikemura. Last and Lust, Neues Museum, Nuremberg, Germany and PIOON, Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka, Japan (both 2014). Recent group shows include Iwaki City Art Museum (2020); The way we are, Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen, Germany (2020) and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2020).
b.1960, Cardiff, Wales.
Solo exhibitions include Long Game, OCT Boxes Museum, Shunde & OCT Art and Design Gallery, Shenzhen (both China, 2018); Long Game, CCA Glasgow (2016); Freestyle, Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany (2014); Merlin James, Parasol Unit, London; Signal Box, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (both 2013); and Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2012, 2015). In 2007 James represented Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Recent group exhibitions include Slow Painting, Leeds Art Gallery, UK (2019), The Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth, UK (2020); Painting Amongst Other Things, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia (2018).
b.1951, Dublin, Ireland.
Solo exhibitions include: Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago (2021); War Changes Its Address, American University Museum, Washington DC and United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA (both 2020); Scenes of Absence, Rubin Center, Texas University, USA (2019); Escenarios de ausencia, Art Museum Ciudad Juárez, Mexico (2019); War Changes Its Address: The Aleppo Paintings, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2018); Recent group exhibitions include Naked Truth, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, (2018); Demise, Cleveland University Art Gallery, Cleveland, OH, USA, (2018) and The sea is the limit, York Art Gallery, UK (2016).
b.1974, Dublin, Ireland.
Solo exhibitions include: Ein Fuß in der Welt / One Foot in the World, Kunstverein Langenhagen, Germany (2018); Another View from Nowhen, London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, UK (2017–18); Curling up with reality, Grazer Kunstverein, Austria (2017–2018); Calling on Gravity, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (2017); The weakened eye of day, Mercer Union, Toronto and CAG, Vancouver (both Canada, 2016) and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2014), Group shows include: The air between things, two-person exhibition with Stephen McKenna, OCT Boxes Art Museum, Shunde, China (2019) and the 51st Venice Biennale representing Ireland as part of a group exhibition (2005).
In late 2020 Launchpad will publish a survey of the last 10 years of Nolan's work which includes over 20 of the artist's writings.
b.1900, d.1981, Drogheda, Ireland
Having studied art at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin, Nano Reid first exhibited her work at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1925 before continuing her studies in Paris at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and later at the Central School, London. In 1934 Reid had her first solo show at the Society of Dublin Painters. In 1950 alongside Norah McGuinness, Reid represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale. This was the first time Irish artists participated in the Biennale.
Reid's work is held in significant Irish collections, including the National Gallery of Ireland, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Hugh Lane Gallery and most notably the Drogheda Municipal Art Collection at the Highlanes Gallery in her hometown of Drogheda where a major survey of her work is currently being prepared.
b. 1945, Dublin, Ireland.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Eleuthera, RHA Dublin (2021); Passenger – a retrospective, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary (2020); Insideoutside, Skulpturenpark Waldfrieden, Wuppertal, Germany (2020); LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Münster, Germany(2019); Eleuthera, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga, Spain,(2019/ 2020); Long Night, Villa e Collezione Panza, Varese, Italy,(2019/2020); Landline, The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, (2019); Eleuthera, Albertina, Vienna, (2019); Sea Star, National Gallery, London, (2019); Vita Duplex, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, (2018) and Landlines and other recent works, De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg (2018).
In 2015 Scully unveiled a permanent site-specific installation at the world-famous Romanesque chapel Santa Cecília de Montserrat, near Barcelona. In 2021 the Modern, Forth Worth and the Philadelphia Museum of Art will host his career retrospective 'The Shape of Ideas'.
b. 1978, California, USA
Solo exhibitions include Trevor Shimizu, Performance Artist, ICA Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (2020); Trevor Shimizu, Performance Artist, Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon, Portugal (2019); Trying To Be A Good Person, Rowhouse Project, Baltimore, USA (2015), and Post, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark (2013).
Group exhibitions include 'Edited at EAI': Artist to Artist, Electronic Arts Intermix, New York, USA (2016); Looking Back/The 9th White Columns Annual - Selected by Cleopatras, White Columns, New York, USA (2015); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2014); Queens International 2012 and Three Points Make A Triangle, Queens Museum of Art, USA (2012).
b. 1972, Brussels, Belgium.
Solo exhibitions include: Luisa Strina Gallery, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2019); Builder, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago (2019); Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples, Italy (2019); Question Centre, Westminster Waste, London, England (2016) and Chisenhale Gallery, London, England (2014/15).
Selected group exhibitions include: Slow Painting, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds, England; travelling to: The Levinsky Gallery, The Arts Institute - University of Plymouth; The Edge, University of Bath and Bath Spa School of Art and Design; Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, and Thurso Art Gallery, (2019/2020); Criminal Ornamentation, Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, England; travelling to: Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, England; Longside Gallery, Arts Council Collection, Wakefield, England; Southampton Art Gallery, Southampton, England, (2018/2019) and Virginia Woolf, An exhibition inspired by her writings, Tate St Ives, Cornwall, England (2018).
b.1967, Zurich, Switzerland
Solo exhibitions include: dark goes lightly, Château la Coste, France (2019); Caja de sueños, Museo MATE, Lima, Peru; 12 nights x dreams, ROCA Rockland Center for the Arts, New York, USA (both 2018); Kunstwerk, a two-person exhibition with Sean Scully, Sammlung Klein, Germany (2017); Mother-Matrix-Matter, Lowe Art Museum, Miami, USA; Invisible World, Phoenix ArtMuseum, Arizona, USA and dusk at dawn, Kunsthalle Rostock, Germany (all 2015).
Recent group exhibitions include Contemporary Chaos, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway (2019); Abstract Painting Now!, Kunsthalle Krems, Austria, (2017) and Sleepless: The Bed in History and Contemporary Art, 21er Haus, Vienna, Austria (2015).
with thanks to all the artists
47 Canal, New York
Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda
Kewenig Galerie, Berlin,
Thomas Dane Gallery, London