For his fifth exhibition with Galerie Max Hetzler, “And thus we existed”, Glenn Brown will present a selection of new and recent paintings, drawings and sculptures. Acid pigments and winding lines create deformed and impalpable portraits, with the colours appropriated from the artist’s own earlier paintings. Bodies and faces intertwine, leaving the viewer with an uncanny, unsettling impression. Flowing curls create a sense of baroque movement, encouraging the eye to wander both across and in and out of each painting, as enigmatic subjects and titles unravel into odd narratives.
The drawings are similarly complex, layering a range of influences that are at once strange and familiar, grotesque and delicate. The black ink or paint, applied with brushes, is often layered on a coloured ground with white highlights, mimicking the process of Old Masters such as Abraham Bloemaert, or Albrecht Dürer. Some of the drawings are set in antique frames gathered by the artist from various regions in Italy. The drawings are made in response to the frame, with swirls and overlapping elements often appropriated from the fine, wooden carving.
In his recent sculptural work, Brown incorporates existing bronze and spelter figurines, using them as supports onto which he applies thick chunks and layers of oil paint. Wildly growing into the surrounding space, the paint appears fresh and blossoming, partly covering the supporting sculpture, seemingly absorbing it. As if Brown’s paintings are stepping into the three-dimensional space, these bursting constructions continue the artist’s practice of blurring the boundaries between different mediums, as paintings become sculptures, and drawings, paintings.
The exhibition will be on view in Berlin, at Bleibtreustraße 45 and the gallery’s new space at Bleibtreustraße 15/16, from October 31, 2020 – January 23, 2021.