Volker Hüller

Tonics

23 East 73rd St

January 24 – March 23, 2018

Van Doren Waxter is delighted to present a solo exhibition of new work by Brooklyn-based, German artist Volker Hüller, on view from January 24 - March 23, 2017 at the gallery's 23 East 73rd Street location. The show presents brightly-colored, large-scale paintings, along with a small suite of hand-colored etchings. This is the artist's fifth solo exhibition in New York, and coincides with the recent publication of a 104-page hardcover monograph published by Skira (2017), edited by Paola Gribaudo, with texts by Scott Indrisek and Tony Godfrey.

 

During an artist residency in upstate New York in 2017, Hüller began a group of large-scale canvases that are the core of this exhibition. The new series advances his collage paintings from the last years', which have developed from achromatic compositions in off-whites, bronze, silver and blacks to a more chromatically-saturated palette of marigold yellow, green, coral pink, and deep blue. As in previous works, these paintings are abstracted from representational imagery. In the current presentation, they focus solely on the human head with dramatic simplicity. Freely-drawn uniform lines that are eyes, nose, and mouth invite interpretation as purely abstract elements. Like medicinal "tonics", the potent colors and elemental forms of these paintings inspire a sense of vigor and positivity in the viewer. 

 

Each monochromatic field is built with layers of materials (collaged canvas, dried grass, sheets of paper towels, stones, faux crocodile skin) creating a surface field of three dimensional lines and textures. The base and background color is the same as the colors of each outline and texture, revealing the motives through shadows cast by the lines. This legibility changes as the viewer moves across and in front of the painting. The simple colors of each of his canvases, along with the surface and textural contrasts, shift within each work. While Hüller's heads are not specific portraits, their slow accumulation of material and paint density create a visual record of the artist's layered marks, impressions, and deliberations.

 

Volker Hüller was born in 1976 in Forchheim, Germany and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He studied under the late Norbert Schwontkowski at the Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg.  Hüller's work is included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, NY, and the Israel Museum. His exhibitions include solo shows at Timothy Taylor, London (2010, 2013); Produzentengalerie, Hamburg (2009, 2012, 2017); 11R - Eleven Rivington, NY (2009, 2011, 2013, 2016); Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam (2009, 2012, 2014, 2016); and group shows at Nicelle Beauchene, NY; Saatchi Gallery, London; the Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg; and Weserburg Museum, Bremen. 

 

The artist's work has been featured and reviewed in The New York Times, Artforum, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, and Modern Painters, among other publications.