Review Rudolf Stingel, at the Sadie Coles Gallery (Private view)

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This is his fifth exhibition within this vast minimal architectural gallery space. Stingel is an artist born in Italy but based in New York. He likes to challenge both materials and contemporary ideas about painting by engaging the audience in a dialogue about how they perceive art. Previous work has involved the use of industrial matter, exploring two-dimensional surface through the use of carving, imprinting or indenting the likes of Styrofoam, carpet and other readily available materials.

This show runs across two gallery spaces and contains six identical sized paintings; here Rudolf examines the translational aspect of painting, thus transforming the initial snap shot photograph into an evocative mediation as memory and time.

These are not just any wildlife images they are carefully chosen reproduced and magnified images, taken from a vintage German calendar, That traditionally uses a different animal to represent each month of the year from different regions of Germany. This work is very reminiscent of his series of paintings based around portrait photographs.

Playing on the perception of art and the creative process he manipulates the scale, tone and construction of these clichéd photorealistic paintings. Accentuating and bringing to light the compositional quirks and surface imperfections, showing that no matter how realistic a photo might be nothing is ever defined as perfect. There is a textural surface of fine brush strokes, and this is where the work becomes interesting, here he is both disclosing and withholding in the same moment, showing us the slow manually constructed layers of paint encasing and reproducing the original image giving us a tension between the vividness of the painting and the original photo.


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