© Gary Stephan

Gary Stephan: Untitled, 2004
acrylic on linen, 16 x 20”

Gary Stephan
Ways to Make Things

Klaus Merkel
Ways to Make Things

Cynthia Broan Gallery is delighted to announce "Ways to Make Things", tandem solo exhibitions by artists Gary Stephan and Klaus Merkel. These two painters have chosen to use the same title for each of their shows, emphasizing their shared interest in the process and meaning of abstract constructs, and their practice of playfully and laboriously making things yet somehow making the thing disappear. Both painters demonstrate highly developed constructs and devices for making paintings, and address the contradictions of abstract art with wit and vigor. In this spirit, the shared title compiles their practices into a larger construct, another thing.

New York artist Gary Stephan continues to refine his formal ambiguity, the shapes playing hide and seek within the picture field. One senses the concreteness of rocks, the frailty of foam, the shimmer of backlight around the edges, yet the flatness jumps back and traces remind the viewer that ultimately the painting is the thing. In addition to his newest paintings, Stephan's version of "Ways to Make Things" includes small sculptures and a series of short videos, which are particularly revealing of his illusionist techniques.

The videos are witty demonstrations of vanishing planes, gravitational dynamics and shifting perspective. The sculptures, created primarily with studio detritus and paint, demonstrate the elegant balance of composition, the transformative nature of the studio itself, and the sheer fun of making things.

© Klaus Merkel

Klaus Merkel: Untitled, 2006

German painter Klaus Merkel has developed a practice of breaking painting down to the primacy of colors and brushstrokes, cataloging each component and recombining them as indices of previous works. Merkel recreates paintings he has already made by stacking them atop one another on the canvas, lining them up in thumbnail versions or editing and rearranging them as collage. Just as any exhibition is a catalog of sorts, and any work of art exists within a historical context, Merkel uses each painting as a retrospective, an index, a visual discourse. Selections from his index of shapes and patterns are used as building blocks that can be rearranged and reproduced to create documents and portraits. The resulting paintings are stunning and dynamic. His exhibition "Ways to Make Things" includes portraits of Erwin Wurm and David Reed among others, based on the subjects' selections.The show also features a 22-foot tapestry of works on paper, each individual piece acting as an element within his codex.

Klaus Merkel lives in Freiburg, Germany. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe since 1981. Previous New York exhibitions include a 1989 solo at Massimo Audiello and a residency and performance with apexart in 2001. His exhibition with Michael Krebber and René Daniels, "the most contemporary picture show, actually", opens November 29, 2006 at Kunsthalle Nürnberg.

Gary Stephan has been exhibiting extensively for forty years, including numerous solos exhibitions with Mary Boone, Margo Leavin and Baumgartner galleries. His work is included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Gary Stephan and Klaus Merkel exhibited together last year in "After All That Can be Said", a three-person show with John Miller at Galerie Kienzle & Gmeiner, Berlin.

Exhibition: October 12 - November 11, 2006
Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 10 am - 6 pm

Cynthia Broan Gallery
546 W. 29th St.
USA-New York, NY 10001
Telephone +1 212 760 0809
Fax +1 212 760 0810
Email contact@cynthiabroan.com