Günther Förg “Lead Paintings”

Skarstedt Gallery

poster for Günther Förg “Lead Paintings”

This event has ended.

Skarstedt announces an exhibition of work by the late German artist Günther Förg, at their uptown gallery this February. This exhibition—remarkably only the third time Förg’s work has been shown in the United States in nearly two decades— will showcase 9 of the artist’s signature paintings on lead, dating from 1986-1990.

Throughout his career, Förg co-opted various uncommon materials as painting supports— the most notable of which was lead. Using imagery born of abstract painting and minimalism, Förg built upon the work of predecessors such as Blinky Palermo and allowed the material to become his vehicle for expression. Förg said of these works, “I like very much the qualities of lead – the surface, the heaviness… I like to react on things, with the normal canvas you often have to kill the ground, give it something to react against. With the metals you already have something - its scratches, scrapes.”

To create these paintings, Förg wrapped lead sheets over wood, then painted each surface with acrylic. The large-scale yet minimal compositions visibly reference American color field painters such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. A number of works in the exhibition feature variations of Newman’s vertical ‘zips’. It’s important to note that Förg did not share the movement’s metaphysical ambitions, but instead intended his Lead Paintings as a visual homage to color field abstraction. The series’ reductive compositions exist as Förg intended: fields of experimentation in painting.

The uneven lead surfaces introduce tension between the flatness of the picture plane and the dimensionality of Förg’s brushstrokes. With each composition layered over a matte lead base, the success of the Lead Paintings relies upon variations in pressure applied to the brush. These variances, as well as the opaque fast-drying nature of acrylic, give prominence to color density and weight. Absorbing nothing, the lead surfaces reveal brushwork both laconic and brisk.



from February 19, 2015 to March 28, 2015

Opening Reception on 2015-02-19 from 18:00 to 20:00


Günther Förg

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