CHRIS HAMMERLEINMarch 30 - April 29, 2006
Kantor / Feuer Gallery is pleased to announce the first Los Angeles solo exhibition for New York-based artist Håvard Homstvedt. The exhibition consists of six large and two small oil and acrylic paintings on linen. Homstvedt’s paintings seek to draw the viewer in, but he also seeks to maintain a focus on the surface and material of the work. The title, “Dud”, refers to rags, ragged clothes, and tatters. The artworks themselves seem to explore the fabric of paint. They initiate us into a practice of viewing that is simultaneously pleasurable and melancholic.
One painting, “Wall,” focuses on a figurative element slinking along a striated corridor. Homstvedt’s figure here folds and yields like a landscape. The image stitches together an illusionistic space with paint in a way that is at once hopeful and romantic, yet also sinister. The figure is shell-like and hollow. Like a pair of empty stockings, its form suggests absence as much as presence.
The painting “Black Hussar” nods at outmoded genre scenes, invoking familiar elements of storytelling. The stoic soldier could be taken from a German polka folksong. He attracts the viewer’s own sense of nostalgia. In “Remnant”, a pile of flat figurative fragments lie like bodies of fairy-tale characters awaiting animation in some Goya-esque antechamber. The works present the texture and technique of painting as one of many arts activated as a way of exploring an ethic based on the fetishization of labor.
Born in 1976 in Norway, Håvard Homstvedt received a BFA from RISD and an MFA from Yale University. He has had solo exhibitions with Southfirst in Brooklyn, New York and Bodi Modern Art Galleries in Newport, Rhode Island. He lives and works in New York.
Showing in the project room are a series of drawing by Chris Hammerlein. Exuberant, large-scale works of ink that elegantly overlie a gestural scheme of graphite on paper, Hammerlein’s drawings recall Holbein, Dürer and the densely wrought “Blacks” of Samuel Palmer. In depictions of Classical Western themes the drawings treat archetypal human patterns of thought and emotional struggle with delicacy, humor and startling invention that suggest the counterpoint intricacies of Bach, the opera of Wagner and Verdi, and the heaving summer sultriness of Led Zeppelin.
Born in 1962, Chris Hammerlein received his education at Boston University and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has had a solo exhibition at Derek Eller Gallery in New York, and was featured in Greater New York at PS1 Contemporary Art Center.