How to Start your own Country, 2006
Acrylic on canvas, 90.55 x 71 in,, 230 x 180 cm
Brave New World
"The pictures are time-machines, they produce hyper-historical and, simultaneously, syn-aesthetical spaces, which, in particular, transform the medium of music into the visual and unite codes to form densely staggered allegories." (Jens Asthoff from "New German Painting", pp. 67-68)
Goff+Rosenthal is pleased to present new works by the Berlin-based artist duo Maike Abetz and Oliver Drescher. This latest series, entitled "Brave New World", focuses on dystopia through the figurative symbolism, art-historical references and brightly saturated pallet characteristic of the artists' past work. Earlier paintings by the pair have made music - specifically classic rock - the basis for their visual language. "Brave New World" is a more political show: the paintings confront the current state of global politics by incorporating more allusions to destruction and escapism, with alchemical symbolism of the Renaissance presented alongside the artists' references to contemporary music and pop culture.
Combining imagery reminiscent of Jugendstil and the psychedelic poster art of the 60's, as well as characters from Greek mythology, Abetz/Drescher fluently overlap icons and allegories from a multitude of historical and aesthetic precedents. Alluding to ideas prevalent in alchemy and the Renaissance, "Brave New World" revolves heavily around the notion of internal self-awareness as a means of understanding the outside physical world. The central figures in each of the large paintings - masculine and feminine archetypes - inhabit their worlds as detached accomplices, meditative and un-phased by the activity surrounding them. With lowered eyelids, these characters do not react to their environments, but simply coexist, giving the paintings an assuring tranquillity that belies the frenzied, turbulent events taking place in the background.
The crow takes on a significant role in this particular body of work as a symbol of both freedom and death, foreshadowing the ultimate act of escape and alluding again to alchemist imagery as the symbol for poisonous vapors hovering on the horizons of these Dionysian landscapes. Through their beautifully rendered, symbolic imagery, Abetz/Drescher create a fantastical universe reminiscent of Bosch, embracing the unification of opposites in a dynamic synthesis of the cosmos.
Abetz/Drescher have been exhibited at Goff + Rosenthal New York, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin; Deitch Projects, New York; Mary Boone Gallery, New York, Kunsthalle, Wien and Schirn, Frankfurt, among others. They are included in the recently published book "New German Painting", edited by Christoph Tannert.
Exhibition: March 31- May 12, 2007
Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 11 am - 6 pm
Galerie Goff + Rosenthal
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