Albert Oehlen at Gagosian Gallery

Currently on show at Gagosian gallery through April 15, 2017

Going to see a show at the Gagosian is like going to your favorite bookstore, you know that when you leave you always know more, wanting more, and learning something interesting.

This time they had Albert Oehlen on exhibit, he’s an Abstract Expressionist German painter. For Oehlen, the practice of painting and its inherent unpredictability is the subject in itself. The guiding principles of his method are impulse and eclecticism, while his tools are fingers, brushes, collages, and the computer. He treats an abstraction as either gesture or geometry, superimposed, in combination, or conflated with a figurative register, as in ready-made posters covered in smudges and stains. Pictorial form for him is a trigger rather than an end in itself.

Perhaps what I like most about his ‘Elevator Paintings: Tree’s’ exhibit is the way it transports me to another plane. Standing in front of this series it feels as if I'm traveling along the black lines and being stopped, pulled, and lifted into the solid red blocks. It’s mesmerizing and grounding. Especially when I remember all of the empty white space I’m surrounded by at the Gagosian; Oehlen’s chaotic pops of color holds me still.

As I leave the gallery and get back onto the bustling Chelsea streets: I wonder if Oehlen means for me, as an observer, to free my mind so much while staring at his works… and I thank him for giving me a bit of creative escape in my day.


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