NY Abstraction 2006: January 14 – February 25, 2006

Since the early 1940s, when the works of Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning contributed to the establishment of the first independent American art movement, New York has been dedicated to abstract art. Ranging from the expressive gestures of the so-called New York School and the intertwining color fields of Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, or Morris Louis, to the geometric Minimalism of Ad Reinhard and Frank Stella, abstraction has proven to be a persistent visual language. It continues to inspire artists of various generations, who employ it as representative agent of their specific time. Hence, it comes as no surprise that even today, in context with a worldwide revival of figurative art, many younger New York artists continue to devote themselves to abstraction - or better, to rediscover its potential. However, in contrast to the first half of the 20th Century, abstract art now implies a certain kind of classicism, leaving its advocates to almost appear as modern romantics, who cling to the thought, that our technological and in many ways uncertain age can only be processed through means of the metaphysical, abstraction.

Clearly, Contemporary Art cannot be divided into two even camps. That kind of clear-cut characterization would be too simple - the split is uneven. Within the roughly described categories of figurative and abstract art, various facets, which require further elaboration, manifest. This exhibition attempts to examine three New York examples of contemporary abstraction by presenting artists whose work has been dedicated to this medium for years.

Matthew Abbott. No horizon line defines Matthew Abbotts' compositions, defying the laws of classic Western perspective. In fact, the opposite is the case as the web made of geometrically segregated, vibrantly lacquered forms and alphabetic letters immediately makes clear that the truth and essence of each work resides on its surface; nothing remains hidden. Psychedelic illustrations rooted in 1960s pop culture, Islamic mosaics, Far Eastern Mandalas and Western graphic design find their way into paintings, such as ?Repetition, Repetition, Repetition" and ?Noises for the Leg", and create their irresistible rhythm while remaining transparent of contemporary passions. One of which is music, a pre-dominant source of inspiration for Abbott, who partially explains his favor of square canvases with his passion for record covers. This musical quality inherent in Abbott's work is enhanced by the intricately planned placement of each color field and the descriptive palette. In fact, an elaborate underpainting evoking almost Renaissance techniques is the foundation of Abbott's creative process, which aims to establish the perfect balance while leaving enough room for movement. Though born in England, Matthew Abbott has lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York, for over a decade. His first local solo exhibition was held at Fawbush gallery in 1994. He has exhibited at Boesky & Callery, New York, Pageant, Los Angeles, The Tannery (project space), London, Black Bull, London und Marlborough Gallery Chelsea, amongst others. His work is part of various permanent collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, the Denver Museum of Art, Colorado, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. This is Abbotts' first exhibition in Berlin.

Jim Lee. With a keen interest in the gray zone that divides abstract painting from sculpture, Jim Lee creates works that cannot be pigeonholed. "Lurch" and "Untitled, Holy Mess" prove Lee's boundless fantasy while documenting his serious dedication to detail. Despite their elaborate construction, the works appear as playful, implying a strong sense of humor. Whereas ?Untitled, Holy Mess" surprises the viewer with an unexpected wooden skeleton that penetrates the actual wall of the exhibition space, "Lurch" appears as animated canvas, which evocative of a living creature, takes a rather coquettish pose: with its "hips" twisted as if to move forward, this rebel attempts to separate itself from the wall. In addition to its motional description, the title "Lurch" further pays homage to a figure of the "The Addams Family" sitcom. Just as the oversized butler of this eccentric family, a charming Frankenstein look-alike, "Lurch" is equally clumsy and able - a clutz and genius mélange. Jim Lee lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He has exhibited extensively in the New York vicinity, including at CRG gallery, Mixed Greens, Barbara Mathes Gallery, Wooster Arts Space, and Morsel, all New York, as well as in Philadelphia, Boston, New Jersey, and Delaware. This is his first exhibition in Berlin.

Bryan Osburn. Complex color patterns and hard edge forms weave through the textures of Bryan Osburn's "Peacock in the Parlor" aloof like smoke and initiate a strong dialogue between all elements. Meanwhile, curvilinear paths bridge the defining parcels and function as physical connection - the confusing, yet functional crossroads of a metropolis. The position of the viewer remains indistinct, yet global infrastructures captured from an aerial view or cartography might come to mind. While the eye travels Osburn's compositions, it becomes clear that the solution to the riddles continuously recedes into unknown distances: the further one submits oneself to these addictive labyrinths of mystifying forms and abstract patterns, the deeper one sinks into Osburn's world. The light at the end of the tunnel disappears. Inspired by Surrealism, in particular the work of Max Ernst, as well as by 1950s design, Osburn embraces the creative process by seeking guidance in the unconscious, instinct and improvisation. Bit by bit, the mosaic of visual thoughts is transformed into a heavily layered tapestry, which has reached completion when a formal balance is able to unite all the separate association. Bryan Osburn lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. He recently exhibited his works at Bauverein, Hamburg, Marlborough Gallery Chelsea, Nora Haime Gallery, New York, and O·H+T Gallery in Boston, MA. This is his first exhibition in Berlin.

Stephanie Buhmann. In 2002 Stephanie Buhmann received her Masters in the History of Art, Architecture and Design from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, with special honors. Since 2001 she has curated various independent projects, including New York Art Independent 01 - 03, a series of exhibitions in the vicinity of Hamburg, Germany, as well as Under the Influence, a collaborative project with Simone Joseph held at Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York. Her art critical reviews and essays have been published by The Brooklyn Rail, Art on Paper, and, to name a few.