EYES IN™ Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk was pleased to meet with the gallery owner of Dittrich & Schlechtriem at the Untitled Fair in Miami. Vivian admired the contemporary paintings of Stefan Behlau, from the recent exhibition at Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Gush.
Lars Dittrich and André Schlechtriem were pleased to present GUSH, the first solo exhibition in Berlin by artist Stefan Behlau.
Behlau continues his exercises in using acrylic paint from Los Angeles-based supplier NOVA COLOR to produce painting initiated from the manufacturer’s color paint sample cards. The new works featured in GUSH mark a distinct development in Behlau’s process-oriented painting practice. While the system has remained constant, the previous restrictions to a single gallon of a single color swiped across a standardized banded black-and-white canvas have now been lifted, allowing for greater painterly innovation and variation in color, form, and rhythm.
A procession of large arched pareidolic forms in combinations including Sun Gold, Hooker’s Green, Hot Pink, and Cobalt Blue line the walls of the gallery. Although these paintings are constructed by means of a seemingly cold mechanical gesture, there is, nevertheless, a detectible emotional undercurrent in his considered positioning and movement of color, which the artist refers to as a sort of "chroma gush".
Large portions of the pure, commercially packaged acrylic paints are directly poured out in circular blobs intuitively placed on a traditionally prepared canvas of several sanded gesso layers. Positioned horizontally on the studio table, a single aluminum blade hovering just over the surface and spanning the width of the canvas is pulled with precision in one quick movement across the entire length of the picture plane. As a result, the thick round pools of paint spring long elliptical forms with varying colors colliding and paint consistency competing, creating borders, line, and image.
On occasion, track marks are left, skimming the surface between volumes, residue of the swipe and evidence of the process’s relationship to scanning, print media, even printmaking. In direct contrast to the quick automatic performative gesture, Behlau's pre-production experimentation and physical preparation of the surface of these paintings is extensive, providing a proper stage and playing field for the resulting presentation of paint.
Stefan Behlau (b. Zurich, Switzerland, 1979) lives and works in between Brussels, Berlin, and Santa Barbara, California. Behlau received his B.F.A. from Pratt Institute, New York, in 2006. His work has been exhibited in a number of solo and group exhibitions in Hamburg, New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas.
Dittrich & Schlechtriem, founded in 2011, is a partnership between Lars Dittrich and André Schlechtriem. Lars Dittrich is an entrepreneur whose first gallery, pool gallery, opened in 2006. André Schlechtriem studied Art History in Cologne, and in 2002 became curator of the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawing Collection in New York, which then became part of MoMA’s permanent collection. He then went on to open André Schlechtriem Contemporary in New York in 2005, and Schlechtriem Brothers in Berlin in 2008. DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM strives to forward the careers of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists, many of whom are based in Berlin but whose origins and work span continents and media. Located in Berlin-Mitte, DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM hosts ca. 8 exhibitions per year, as well as presenting gallery artists’ work at art fairs around the world.
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Image Credit: Vivian Van Dijk
Source: Dittrich & Schlechtriem Gallery