By Roberta Smith
Torben Giehler is one of several young painters working in the overlap of formalist abstraction, digital cartography and photography, exploring an illusionistic style that seems indebted to Al Held (who served as éminence grise in a four-artist painting exhibition at P.S. 1 this summer that has now morphed into a large show of Mr. Held's recent work). In his second solo show, Mr. Giehler has beefed up his paintings with jumpier colors, slightly thicker surfaces and tighter, more varied compositions
Alles in Bewegung
Früher arbeitete Torben Giehler oft nach einer durchzechten Nacht an seinen Bildern. Seit sie so groß sind, dass er eine Leiter braucht, malt er lieber nüchtern VON KERSTIN KOHLENBERG
Torben Giehler kratzt an einem hart gewordenen Acrylfarbfleck auf seiner Malerhose. Diese Flecken machen seine Hosen so starr, als sei sie in Gips gegossen. Manchmal kratzen sie sogar durch den Stoff die Haut blutig. Dann muss die Hose in den Müll. »Wenn die hier voll ist, dann probier ich mal was Neues«, sagt Giehler und zieht eine in Plastik verpackte Latzhose aus einem Ikea-Regal. Bislang malte er in Hüfthosen, aber in einem Buch von Willem de Kooning hat er gesehen, dass der nur Latzhosen trug. Und de Kooning ist im Moment Giehlers Lieblingskünstler
Abstract painting is back. True, it never really went away, but it had been shunted aside by the vagaries of time and fashion. Abstraction was attacked for being old media, played out, new-idea stunted, and out of sync with contemporary life and thought—as well as for being decorative and solipsistic. While abstraction persisted in Europe and even Asia, it became a sidebar to the New York art scene, which was flooded, paradoxically, with a technologically sophisticated assortment of new-media works, along with an array of updated conventional representational paintings.
Just as the figure—once disparaged as academic, facile, or simply frumpy—experienced a renascence, showing up in numerous guises to suit the social, political, and artistic moment, abstract art has been flaunting its brilliant past and reconfiguring itself for the present and future.
It says something when a painter of modest-size, solid abstract canvases like Tomma Abts wins the Tate’s Turner Prize, an award that usually targets edgy, controversial art.
And then there are the shows like “Big Bang! Abstract Painting for the 21st Century,” at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts (through the 22nd of this month), which opened with an explosion of new abstract art. The works in the show, by 15 mostly emerging artists, were inspired by nothing less than “computer technology, cosmology, quantum physics, information theory, genetics, complexity theory, remote sensing, and other sets of current scientific visual languages,” according to exhibition curators Nick Capasso and Lisa Sutcliffe. Where Barbara Takenaga depicts an imploding—or expanding—universe, creating a spectral buzz, Cristi Rinklin draws on computer imagery for her painterly abstractions and explains that “technology recalibrates how we imagine the world.”....more