Thomas Kratz – Lick Gin

<em>Thomas Kratz</em>, LICK GIN, installation view

Thomas Kratz, LICK GIN, installation view

 

In his first solo show in Italy, German artist Thomas Kratz presents “Lick Gin (Situations),” an exhibition consisting of seven new paintings and reliefs, three sculptural works, and a gallery intervention in the form of painted ceiling and walls. As with earlier work, the pieces in this exhibition press the viewer’s senses to work, encouraging open and fluid perception. But three sculptures, despite an apparent tension with the paintings, further Kratz’s exploration of the ability of surface to create refined coloration and texture. Kratz’s work has engaged with the exterior of painting, often by using soft colors painted on materials other than traditional canvas. Metal pigments, like manganese and tin, were used in his earlier “Lick Gin” series and were painted on wood; while his “Nude” series used fleshy colors on glass. The effect is the production of paintings that turn the viewer into a perceptual participant, engrossing their senses with a tangible feeling of absorption. In his new series of paintings, Kratz continues this trajectory, but pushes the interactive aspect of his work one step further with the sculptures and intervention. Three sculptures greet the viewer upon entering the gallery. One of two life-sized works, Games Master (Fountain) is a sort of figure atop a bucket, and might hint towards Duchamp—the sculpture looks like a rook from chess, an obsession of Duchamp’s—who might also be the game master—while the word “fountain” could easily reference Duchamp’s famous work of the same name. The three works form a blockade of sorts, a triangle that has to be dealt with before entering the main gallery. This triumvirate might also reference Kratz’s performative practice, where props and fabric hide the artist’s identity, and Kratz often uses a bicycle in an exhibition, riding it or using it as a work in its own right. Like his paintings, layering is involved in two of these sculptures: layering of fabric is used to bring out the qualities of the outer material, using their figure-like form to focus our attention on the surface. This continues in the new paintings and reliefs, where the use of fiberglass and other materials helps to highlight not only color’s relationship to the base substance, but also the outward power of the feel of form. Fiberglass has been placed on wood, epoxy has been placed on cardboard, and lacquer has been painted on aluminum, each becoming the manner through which color and form are delivered. The outcome of these forays into the nature of texture is work that brings the dimensionality of painting into the three-dimensional, and the dimensionality of sculpture towards painting. The perception of the artwork has been further enlivened by a painted ceiling—an acid green—and two walls—a pale blue, which mirrors the blue in AR°1. Situated so (in cella), the paintings become part of a nexus of membranes, part of a series of surfaces, which, taken together, function like a multicellular capsule. Each work lives and breathes in this tactile environment, but each is its own organism, exhibiting the subtle veneer of their body.

Aaron Bogart

May 4 -September 29, 2013
Galleria Collicaligreggi – via Oliveto Scammacca n2A, Catania

<em>Thomas Kratz</em>, LICK GIN, installation view

Thomas Kratz, LICK GIN, installation view

 

<em>Thomas Kratz</em>, LICK GIN, installation view

Thomas Kratz, LICK GIN, installation view

 

<em>Thomas Kratz</em>, LICK GIN, installation view

Thomas Kratz, LICK GIN, installation view

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