top of page /// Kunstraum LLC opens group exhibition curated by Paul Wesenberg

By on March 8, 2021 read article

Carson Fox, Turquoise Dream, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

BROOKLYN, NY.-Proximity and Distance brings together artworks with intrinsic values of wholeness and time, giving hope during the historical turning point of a worldwide crisis. Featuring Berlin and New York-based artists Isabelle Borges, Carson Fox, Axel Geis, Anna Grath, Katherine Jackson, Stella Meris, Habby Osk, and Paul Wesenberg, the exhibition focuses on the shared belief that rapidly changing times require a new search for artistic language—one that offers calm and resilience in the face of the complexities of our lives.

The artists in this show are united by the distinctiveness of their independent studio practice. They use different techniques, materials, and visual languages, yet their resulting works communicate with each other. All of the works offer an inherent stillness and comfort that allows us to take a mental breath and slow down to reflect. The inherent faith of the artists and the care that goes into these artworks grant a calm that can metaphorically offer proximity and distance from life's challenges.

As human beings, we need to find new ways of dealing with nature and its resources, the relationship between climate and economy, and the political and social effects of globalization. This includes finding concepts that can further adapt and renew their own characteristics—be it visually, structurally, or in their materials or meanings. The artists in the exhibition, who are already seeking new paths, can derive formal effects from an impressive minimal impulse, and thus convince us to offer effective solutions from little. Their concentration is born from restraint that, in turn, offers plenty.

The works in the exhibition give the impression that these artists share similar world views (Proximity), mastering an aesthetic extreme, but also allow for space (Distance) in the perception of the works. The show is meant to serve as an example of time, rest, and relief as a means of resilience.

Isabelle Borges's constructivism is more like re-constructivism. She is an idealistic, utopian, and transcendental thinker, and her objects with fine graphic surfaces manifest the need to translate a clear description of the perceptible environment into visual structures. Axel Geis, who mostly uses atmospheric film scenes as references, ironically tries to glorify his image sources with classic painterly means in small formats and provides the characters with a new presence in our time. Paul Wesenberg primarily experiments with paint on surfaces—its interplay with visual language and perception on medium-size canvases. His work can be seen as a representative of a modernist sensibility that reflects an unbridled delight in demonstrating the gaiety and autonomy of his paintings. Anna Grath's works, although primarily defined as sculptures made of apparently randomly assembled parts that can be described as "garbage," effectively discuss the wide range of the current understanding of what painting could be. Found objects have been removed from their function, reduced, and bent, creating an interplay of symbolism and function.

Carson Fox’s work can also be understood as an intervention of color in space, as "extended painting," providing colorful stimuli for unconventional thinking. Her abstract sculptures are made with multiple parts from poured, carved, and manipulated resin joined together with translucent layers of vibrantly pigmented color. Katherine Jackson’s groups of perfectly shaped objects made of colored glass—constituted and built with care and sensitivity—emanate an aura of weightlessness. A similar impression of buoyancy is further interpreted with a free brush stroke in Stella Meris’s painting. She uses bright neon colors and various materials on paper, playfully outlining clear signs and symbols. Meanwhile, Habby Osk’s sculpture instigates primal experiences in which the beginning and the end are one. With the autonomy of an ouroboros swallowing its own tail, her works symbolize quiet stability and ever-circling infinity. The clarity of the heavy concrete form in dynamic equilibrium is like a response to the constructive restlessness of the objects by Isabelle Borges and, at the same time, an antipode of the color anarchy in Stella Meris´s work.


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