Frosch & Portmann is pleased to present Kraaam, an exhibition exploring the technique of collage, as interpreted by six artists: Dennis Dawson, Tyler Hildebrand, Eva Lake, Paul Loughney, Fritz Sauter, and Robert Yoder. The title of the exhibition is derived from the primary colored comic book exclamation Kraaam, in Swiss artist Fritz Sauter’s collage.

Dennis Dawson received his MFA from the University of Tennessee and lives and works in the New York metro area. Dawson’s complex, multifaceted works are composed of torn out magazine pages and found objects. The artist places his distinct imprimatur to the collages by adding intricate, kaleidoscopic details on his multilayered surfaces. Dawson’s collages have the air of having been transported from an era longtime past. He carefully hones and treats the materials in his collages, making them appear weathered and marking the passage of time, while simultaneously revealing the apparent hand of the contemporary artist. Dawson’s haunting collages conjure ghosts of modernist artists from the past, while creating an entirely new carnivalesque visual language of his own.

Tyler Hildebrand’s multimedia collages intertwine sunny images and icons of contemporary American pop culture with the flip, dark, and shadowy underside that coexist simultaneously. In one collage, the artist combines a cuddly cat with an actual typed and signed letter from serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin that was written to his mother, who is a crime reporter. There was a period of time where he would only speak to her, including confessing murders in an intense dialogue. The artist incorporates this very personal and dark exchange into his very seemingly optimistically brightly colored landscapes. Hildebrand’s sly and mordantly witty collages lay bare and upend American popular culture in a Lynchian manner. Powerful symbols of wholesome Americana, such as twinkling Christmas trees, basketball superstars, cute pets, and child-like drawings curiously collide with sinister Silence of The Lambs style objects from a serial killer in Hildebrand’s vividly rendered, pastel hued playhouse universe. Hildebrand received his MFA from the Memphis College of Art and currently lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Portland, Oregon based Eva Lake studied painting at the Art Students League in New York City and Art History at the University of Oregon. In Kraaam, we look back at the trajectory of the artist’s work with a compact retrospective from four series of Lake’s work from the past decade starting with the Judd Montages in 2007. Lake utilized Donald Judd images taken from an art magazine from the 1960s and transposed the famously austere images onto dazzlingly colorful landscapes, reimagining his minimalist sculptures and playfully piercing the protective bubble of grave seriousness surrounding discussions of the canon of art history. The artist’s subsequent series feature images of female narratives. In the Targets series, begun in 2008, Lake places magazine cutouts of glamorous Old Hollywood starlets on actual shooting practice targets. By combining images of starlets, often typically portrayed as victims, Lake subverts the notion of the male gaze. The woman appear gleeful and strong perched upon the targets, gazing back defiantly at the viewer, reclaiming their power. In the Anonymous Women series, begun in 2010, the artist shifts her focus of subjects to unknown women. They are conflated with everyday objects. In her later series, Fashion Items, from 2014, Lake evolves by removing the representation of the female face and body entirely and began collages with only a clothing garment as the subject. These works are not about fashion or style to the artist, instead they represent the transformative power of clothes, style, and fashion. The artist’s glittering array of powerful women fiercely challenge patriarchal norms with panache. Lake’s glamourpusses will most definitely grab back.

Paul Loughney received his MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Loughney approaches contemporary magazines like an anthropological document in which he excavates bodies, backgrounds and symbols to further deconstruct how notions of identity are built up around manufactured ideas of beauty, fantasy, ritual and desire.

The abstraction of space, depth, and illusion of an imagined place that he creates is a consistent thread in Loughney’s work. One thread in particular portrays the idea of the difficult, awkward, and seemingly impossible transition of adolescent boys on the journey to becoming men. Loughney deftly creates a codified visual framework of constructed objects in an illusionistic space.

Fritz Sauter was born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, where he lives in works. The multitalented artist works in many disciplines: he is a book editor, creates prints, short stories, poems, and radio plays. For his collages, Sauter utilizes varied materials including comic books, magazines, and exhibition catalogues. The artist cleverly combines “high” materials such as an image of a Hopper painting with “low” materials such as a fragment from a comic book exclaiming loudly, “Kraaam!” In another work, an ear conceals a black and white portrait of a woman in a surrealistic manner. Sauter’s work is truly original, droll, and sophisticatedly quirky, much like his self penned biography entitled The course of a life time: “My grandmother was born as the 13th child near Verona. 7 older siblings have died. One sister, Lidwina, barely weighing 2.5 kilograms, only survived as she was put into the stovepipe. My great-grandfather played the mandolin. The family moved around a lot, from France to Germany, looking for work, stranded in villages and cities and moved on. Then Switzerland, Grüezi. Parents. Me. School. India. Military Service, no thanks; Great Britain, Geneva. On a boat over the ocean. Dolphins and fisher boats. All of a sudden, Monsieur Rimbaud comes out of the dark, shots with his colt. A very tiny hole in the blue of the sky, where angels and sparrows disappear. Now here; Rimbaud is waiting under palm trees, smirks stupidly, has a face of paper and goodbye. I leave the house and everything will be different, when it’s time.“

Robert Yoder’s work redefines the collage and the artist is widely renowned for his expert and inimitable technique. Yoder systematically cuts and arranges each element in his works in an extremely precise manner. The sources for his collages are mostly fashion advertisements. The artist deconstructs the fashion images and reconfigures them into splendid new shapes and abstractly regal anthropomorphic figures. These otherworldy, and somehow mysteriously chic figures are isolated against a stark, clean white backdrop, which highlights their sharpened details and commanding features. Yoder’s surrealistic collages are masterclasses in how to combine familiar and intangible objects, creating a myriad of unexpected and endlessly intriguing possible interpretations. The artist received his MFA from the University of Washington and lives and works in Seattle, Washington.