Per Kirkeby "Paintings"

Michael Werner Gallery

poster for Per Kirkeby "Paintings"

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Michael Werner Gallery presents an exhibition of new paintings by Danish artist Per Kirkeby (b. 1938). The artist's recent paintings explore relationships between nature and abstraction, returning to landscape motifs as a source for painterly invention. In several works horizontal bands suggesting wood planks predominate the picture space to create multiple horizon lines which alternately reveal and obscure underlying passages of loosely gestural forms, reminiscent of tree stumps. In other works, elusive planes of shadow and light emerge independent of a fixed horizon, further confusing our expectations of front and back, above and below. Kirkeby's palette too contributes to the disorienting effect of these works; employing a range of hot, brash colors not typically found in his paintings, Kirkeby complicates a purely naturalistic reading of the paintings to expand the expressive potential of his pictorial abstraction.

Throughout a career spanning four decades Per Kirkeby has developed a unique approach to abstract painting, quietly and deliberately building a personal vocabulary of images steeped in observations of the natural world. Ideas about landscape, sedimentation, and layers are the key elements in Kirkeby's art, which have their roots in his study of the natural sciences at the University of Copenhagen, beginning in 1957. During this time Kirkeby made numerous expeditions to the Arctic and Greenland, experiences that would become the foundation for his later works as a visual artist. Already by the time he earned his master's degree in arctic geology in 1964 Kirkeby had immersed himself in the activities of Copenhagen's Experimental Art School, participating in happenings and Fluxus events with Nam June Paik, Joseph Beuys and Jörg Immendorff among others. In 1965 Kirkeby presented his first solo exhibition and published his first volume of poetry. His first exhibition with Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne, was in 1974.



from September 15, 2011 to November 12, 2011


Per Kirkeby

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