Monet Is My Church

17 Mar — 13 Apr 2017 at Gallery Dittrich & Schlechtriem in Berlin, Germany

18 MARCH 2017
Monet Is My Church, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Dittrich & Schlechtriem
Monet Is My Church, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Dittrich & Schlechtriem

Lars Dittrich and André Schlechtriem are pleased to present Monet Is My Church, a group show featuring Ivan Comas, Travis Lycar, Henning Strassburger, and Tyra Tingleff, opening March 16 and running though April 13, 2017. Reflecting on the current state of abstraction in contemporary practices, each of the four artists premieres new large-scale paintings conceived specifically for the four walls of the gallery. Monet Is My Church, a text pulled from a comment in an Instagram post picturing a woman standing in front Claude Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, considers the exalted space and often spiritual architecture around abstraction in light of the prevailing temporary and immaterial digital space of mobile screens. In the high and deep, subterranean, gallery space at Linienstraße 23, the paintings invite the viewer to now re-indulge in the reverence for the observable phenomenon of the medium and movement.

The landscape-format abstract paintings of Ivan Comas (b. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1987) combine conventional painting techniques with the parallel process of digital printing. The oft-considered sacred space of painting is now fused with a synthetic intervention of technology. Comas manipulates an industrial printer to fix pictorial effects over a layered, water-paint base. Those marks relate to gesture and expression, implying representation as if the shapes on it were about to implode. The fetishized systems of painting and technology merge, creating the required altered state of perception to enlighten and exercise contemplation.

Travis Lycar (b. Gimli, Canada, 1980) presents twin paintings, scaled up to 300 x 280 cm each. Through the artist’s own reduplication of scale, mark, color, and process, the two works are inherently related and inevitably dissimilar. Employing a restrained palette and a slightly withdrawn application, Lycar questions what a painting could be when manifested out of a less technically influenced creative process, devoid of reference material and relying on aesthetic impulses that might lie dormant, like a recessive gene. Engaging the tone of abstraction as a pseudo-religion with a system of questions, doubt, and emotions to be understood then accomplished through a meditative practice.

An induced state of reading is further challenged by the imposition of the more digital palette and quick commercial-ready print surfaces of Henning Strassburger (b. Meißen, Germany, 1983). Bypassing the emotional or gestural methods of painting, Strassburger incorporates short free-form mark making with the nearly remarkable and seemingly graphical. Slight notions of text, icons, virtual spaces, and familiar realities sit on the surface of thinly coated canvas.

Tyra Tingleff (b. Oslo, Norway, 1984) presents a pair of paintings that employ set strategies of abstraction, but at the same time convey an impression of an uncertain reality, a reality often mediated through the individual lens of the viewer and having various interpretations based on personal past experiences. In Monet Is My Church, Tingleff’s well-worked-over canvases can be perceived as either silent or noisy, or simultaneously confusing, not unlike an echo chamber or cave. The contending context conceals strict interpretations, allowing for distraction and tension. This space, where language is abstracted and absent, ultimately allows for a potentially more mystical path to meaning and understanding.