Artists: Nora Berman, Cosima von Bonin, Keren Cytter, Michaela Eichwald, Jana Euler, Katja Seib, Sylvia Sleigh
Venue: dépendance, Brussels
Exhibition Title: J A N U A R Y
Date: January 31 – February 16, 2019
Full gallery of images, press release, and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of dépendance, Brussels. Photos by Kristien Daem.
dépendance is pleased to present the group show J A N U A R Y. The exhibition traces various forms of representation that have come to define figurative painting and sculpture in recent years. Bringing artists of different generations and genres together, the exhibition takes figuration and the body as a subject.
Nora Berman’s work deal with notions of contemporary spirituality through painting, performance and sculpture. The artist explores how her work can be a gateway into a consciousness of metaphysical ideas through a materially based practice, signified by a gestural and energetically charged approach to painting.
Isis rattling is a portrait of the Egyptian goddess who represents, among others, the infinite universal love which exists in everything. Isis uses a rattle to summon energy, which is the form on the left of the painting. The second painting, Drifting through subconscious desires, is a self portrait of the etheric forces the artist is searching to sense through painting. The figure depicts the artist – in feeling rather than form – which is why the forms keep disappearing from the picture, while the colours brighten up and materialize the painting.
The foundation of Cosima von Bonin’s work lies in the transformative quality of things being performed. The artist stages objects while withholding information about their meaning and her intentions keep slipping away. Present in her work are soft materials and textiles, which express the apparent inertia of bodily objects. A host of references and reminiscences, evoked primarily through the use of language in the titles, lend an ironic tone, without detachment. von Bonin’s sculpture, Kings of the B (2019) features a pair of plaid patterned rockets dangling from the opening of a small, red cement mixer made of steel.
Keren Cytter creates films, video installations, and drawings that represent social realities through experimental modes of storytelling. Cytter’s drawings are influenced by the artist’s domestic surroundings; the drawing with the sister tattoo was taken from the internet; The second is a manipulated image in which Cytter is separating the mug and the figure which was originally drawn on it. In both the artist uses ink to represent print in reality – the print on the mug and on the arms.
Throughout her new paintings, Katja Seib plays with colour and light, using fluctuations in shadow and tone to convey – or alternately render ambiguous – spatial depth. Her figures are often shrouded in darkness or literally veiled, in an extension of the delicate layering (of paint and fabric) that gives rise to each picture. Reflecting this plurality of meaning, a pair of eyes and shade of two hands are coming out of a brand luxury bag, from which a rose arises too – either a figment of the imagination, or a real and impending threat.
The work of Jana Euler is permeated by energy. Euler’s practice focuses on the interplay of painting, sculpture and word & image. Her work explores contemporary identity and the impact and role of cultural, social and technological developments in its formation. In the exhibition two paintings portray ‘professions’: a male judge painted from an photo Euler purchased from an image bank and a male stripper, both painted in a blurred ‘Richter’ style.
Michaela Eichwald’s paintings are heavy duty, difficult to digest, abstracted and expressive. In their collage-like cacophony of seemingly well known yet somehow impenetrable source material, which she often organizes into a loose, horizontal blog – disobedience flares up. Eichwald often reveals her journey through her direct, yet humorous and heady titles, which turn the paintings’ abstract, physical clusters into search images; at the same time, they act as critical society within the arena of contemporary painting.
Sylvia Sleigh was a Welsh painter. She studied at the Brighton School of Art in Sussex. Her first solo exhibition was in London at the Kensington Art Gallery in March 1953. It featured still-lifes, landscapes and portraits, in oil or watercolour, painted from 1949. After marrying the art critic Lawrence Alloway (b 1926), she moved in the 1960s to the USA, where she became known for a series of feminized portraits of friends and associates living in New York’s SoHo and Lower East Side, made during the 1970s.
Featured in the exhibition is the work Pool in Florida (1962) Like her portraits of the damaged copies of classical figures, heroes and poses, Pool in Florida shows a garden in a private setting in Florida. Like the Crystal Palace Gardens from the Victorian Empire, it shows wealth and sophistication of its owner- an unknown art collector who hosted Sylvia and her husband Lawrence. Lawrence is shown almost disappearing in the background of the painting, casually writing with his legs crossed, in shorts. A very unusual way to portray a man of his importance. This intimate, hardly representative pose can be found also in many other works.
Christine (1964) portrays Christine Carballo, Sleigh’s friend and favorite model. The work shows Christine in a typical ‘Sleigh’ pose that is both academic as well as intimate. She seems cat-like curled on the artist’s sitting room couch that can be found in many other works—a Biedermeier daybed that Sylvia had inherited from her grandmother and which she brought to the US . It symbolizes the old world, its traditions, formality and culture. As a counterpart a domesticated plant shows her interest in the original, the authentic, the organic.