This Board does not reflect the official opinion of the Hochschule für Bildende Künste–Städelschule.This Board does not reflect the official opinion of the Hochschule für Bildende Künste–Städelschule. This Board does not reflect the official opinion of the Hochschule für Bildende Künste–Städelschule. 

O liana

E.M.C. Collard

Opening: Nov 22, 2019, 7 - 10pm
Curated by: Goekhan Erdogan

The eponymous work O liana (2019, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 40 cm) features intertwined plant matter in shades of bilious green. Plant components snake across a light yellow undefined background, with a liana that forms an oval taking center stage: the painting’s title is derived from this shape. The blooms, also green and with spherical anthers, camouflage into the background and can only be made out at second glance. The piece forms part of Collard’s painting series, g.p.t.s.t.s.n. - a genealogy of plants that stand in the shade at night, begun in 2014, which depicts nature – or rather, things that superficially appear as nature – as strange flower portraits, labyrinthine branches, unleashed ornament. Once again, the artist (born 1981 in Frankfurt), who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2006, addresses the theme of material. Her concern lies both with how her working material paint may be used – at times it presents in thick layers, scratched off in parts before being painted over again, at others in thin, transparent sections – as well as with mass in a broader sense: plant matter, living mass that produces chlorophyll and oxygen on the one hand, and our own, bodily materiality which we experience from within on the other.

While the structures on the canvasses remain firmly rooted in the world of plants – this is signalized by leaves, flowers, water droplets, etc. – their twisted objectivity and low-res representation allows for a range of associations to be made. While the first works in the series showed superimposed flowers and female portraits based on photographic material, the series quickly saw things proliferate from this introspective-analytical core approach: The “plants” were increasingly generated through observation from life, but also through memory and imagination, the photographic starting material succeeded by internal images and archetypes, navel-gazing, a being thrown-back onto oneself, and the notion we have of the inside of our body outside of medical imaging, when our anatomy presents itself as a “black box”.

And so the tubes and nodules meandering through the new paintings have similarities with structures that may also be found inside the human body. But more than that: they embody gut feelings, so to say. And those are decidedly upbeat this time: The new works tend towards the pastel-colored, light plays an ever more important role, the shapes appear to be dancing. In some cases, the artist has even allowed photographic material, and thus the external, machine-based view, to re-enter the work – the “Studies after Karl Blossfeld”, based on images shot by the famous photographer, provide a counterpoint to the imagination-led works in the show. The artist’s mission statement however remains the same: To create paintings that transport an atmosphere, that operates according to their own laws, and is invention-led. She lures us into tangles of muddy to candy-colored oil paint, builds arcs of suspense between order and chaos, and creates a distinct visual syntax. Layering her canvasses with innumerable micro-decisions and at times grand gestures, E.M.C. Collard creates paintings that capture the imagination.

E.M.C. Collard 2019.

During the Atelier Frankfurt Open Doors event on 23 and 24 November, the exhibition will be open from 2-7 p.m. each day.

The exhibition can be seen by appointment at:

Please write a day in advance to view.

NEW NOW art space
Schwedlerstrasse 1
60314 Frankfurt am Main

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