POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Charline von Heyl, Black Stripe Mojo, 2009, Acrylic and oil on linen, 82 x 72 inches
My latest review is up at The L Magazine. This time I discuss the paintings of Charline von Heyl at Friedrich Petzel. The teaser below.
Charline von Heyl says she wants to invent an image that has not yet been seen or cannot be named. That desire is so common within the art world it’s a cliche, at least as it pertains to originality; but even without reading the press release a viewer has the sense that her paintings were made with those goals in mind.
At least this is how I felt as the dread of trying to explain why I liked her paintings loomed. I write about whatever I want in this column, so there’s no reason I had to review her show at Friedrich Petzel, but my visceral response to the work was strong enough that I knew I wouldn’t be doing my job if I avoided the challenge. The problem is that these eight, large abstract works inspire head nods, neck craning, and monosyllabic response more than they do exposition. That’s the way some abstraction works, but it makes it harder to talk about.
A self-titled exhibition, the 49-year-old painter’s sixth solo show at Petzel presents a restrained body of work, at least compared to her more gestural exhibition of 2006. In this show, no painting provides a focal point, but I took to a black and white vertically striped painting overlaid with what appeared to be a pack of yellow tiger cats titled “Black Stripe Mojo.” Bits of pink—from what I assume is the animal’s ear—show up throughout the work, as does the strange appearance of a human hand, each of which add a delicacy to the image (painted references to soft kitten parts tend to do this). The painting’s unusual combination of static flat pattern with organic malleable forms is immediately compelling and beautiful.
To read the full review click here.