Color: Field and Form, Part 4

Part 1: Truitt, Appleby, Jackson, Shils, Donaldson.
Part 2: Estrada-Vega, Johnston, Korman, Gimblett
Part 3: Aaron, Chong, Glessner, Mattera

Charline Von Heyl
Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, March 21 - July 15.
It's Vot's Behind Me That I Am (Krazy Kat), 2010, acrylic and oil on linen and canvas
BOSTON--Just before the exhibition closed its run, I visited the Institute of Contemporary Art to see Charline Von Heyl, the paintings and collages of the German artist who now lives in New York City. I'm taken with the way Von Heyl combines the organic with the hard edge; indeed, there's an insistence on geometry that I love. She plies color against black and white, and she uses a variety of picture-making materials in her paintings. Some are rich and drippy; others, rendered more minimally with charcoal and a light wash, look to be scrubbed almost clean in parts; others still are scraped and painted over. Von Heyl's paintings are energetic, restless, explosive. Some suggest containment about to be breached. She describes them as "melodramatic abstraction." There's a lot going on. .
This view into the gallery, above, gives you a sense of scale. I like the size of these works, larger than life-size but still relatable to human proportions.

Here's a bit more of the installation, with the foreshortened painting on the far right shown full on below
Title unknown, 2008, acrylic on linen, 82 x 78 inches
Installation view of P., shown below and in detail
P.,  2008, acrylic, charcoal and crayons in linen, 82 x 74 inches

Detail below

Solo Dolo, 2010, oil and charcoal on linen
I'm pulling this from the wall text: "Von Heyl says, 'I want my paintings to be ambivalent, with paradoxical space and needs, each one a kind of self-satisfied silent universe.' As for the slang term . . . it is defined online as: 'to do things by yourself (solo) and on the down low (dolo).' "
Installation view with Solo Dolo and Black Mirror
Black Mirror #2, 2009, acrylic and oil on linen, 82 x 72 inches
Image from the Friedrich Petzel Gallery website
Lazybone Shuffle, 2010, acrylic on linen
Detail below

Charline Von Heyl was curated by Jenelle Porter, senior curator at the ICA/Boston. The institution offers a stingy visual overview of the exhibition here. Fortunately you can see more from the previous venue, the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Contemporary Art, in Philadelphia, here, where you'll find some good installation shots, along with images of collages that I'm not showing you. Many of these paintings were also on view at the Friedrich Petzel gallery in Chelsea in 2010.

Next week: Guy Goodwin and Douglas Florian


Tim McFarlane said...

I love Charline Von Heyl's work. I had to visit the show when it was here in Philly twice and spent a long time with the work. As you noted, the mix of geometry and looser brushwork in Von Heyl's paintings makes for some nicely energized works.

Anonymous said...

This is a terrific post; and very timely for me! I just read a review of her work and was wishing for more imagery. Thank you for this coverage!

Tamar said...

Thanks for this walk through of Von Heyl's work. I was particularly drawn to "P" and "Solo Dolo". The balance between the central atmospheric space/mass and the starkly geometric border in P is particularly appealing. I need to spend more time with these paintings!

Nancy Natale said...

This work is an interesting combination of expressive and geometric imagery, and I was glad to be introduced to Charline Von Heyl. Thanks for this post.

I was shocked that you were able to photograph at the ICA. I hope this is their new policy and not just a strange momentary lapse. Could they be becoming less stingy and more user friendly?

Ravenna Taylor said...

I adore her work! Thanks for the great post.

annell4 said...

Love this post!

Paul Behnke said...

I love her work too. One of the best painters working today! Loved it when I saw the work in Philly...

psarapas said...

Hey Joanne: I met Charlene VH two summers ago-she was a guest artist at the Teacher Institute at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago--did a blog post which you can see here if you wish:


bonny leibowitz said...

Having the good fortune of missing the ferry to p-town I ventured over to the Museum...a wonderful surprise to view this exciting work in person after having admired it for some time online and in magazines etc. I'm pretty crazy for Charline's work and was really inspired by the show. Thanks Joanne!

Unknown said...

Love your blog Joanne. Saw Charline's work this year at Tate Liverpool, UK and was blown away by it, walking around the gallery with a smile on my face. Very much hoping she'll exhibit in the UK again, soon.