MIER GALLERY is pleased to present a solo booth featuring the paintings and works on paper by German artist Jan-Ole Schiemann in the EXPOSURE section of EXPO CHICAGO 2015.
A recent graduate and student of Albert Oehlen and Andreas Schulze at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Schiemann challenges the tradition of paint on canvas through collage-like techniques in multiple layers of ink. Blurring the lines between abstraction and figuration, the traditional figure-ground relationship is in question within his practice, constructing works of a psychological and playful nature. Schiemann’s surreal imagery is based on Max Fleischer’s groundbreaking 1930s’ cartoons, featuring such iconic characters as Betty Boop and Bimbo. Painting almost entirely in ink and referencing Fleischer’s own medium, Schiemann builds layer upon layer on unprimed canvas to create illustrative compositions. He begins by collecting stills, or part of a still, and collages the images using transparencies. These selections are then projected on the wall, with each image serving as a new layer of the composition. The picture planes begin with bold, absorbent fields that act more like dyes or stains, providing the groundwork for successive layers of more restrained, sharp gestures. The resulting surface creates the illusion of depth, but is surprisingly flat; so flat that they could be printed. Formally, Schiemann’s paintings follow a pattern similar to comic strips or even filmstrips, painted frame upoFormally, Schiemann’s paintings follow a pattern similar to comic strips or even filmstrips, painted frame upon frame. The main characters emerge from the eerie, exaggerated shapes of shadows or the elegant curve of Betty Boop’s camisole – originally secondary players in a scene. In the rhythmic and melodic swoops of his lines, he glides through large areas of ink with elegant movements and pristine results. Schiemann not only utilizes found footage out of the cartoons but also merges the appropriated imagery with elements from his rigorous drawing practice. Although the compositions are prepared and planned, there always remains an element of spontaneity; as the painting progresses, there is room to react, to change something, or to use coincidences. In addition to his paintings, Schiemann’s works on paper are integral to his practice. Both bodies of work, often created simultaneously, influence and inform one another in form and content. His drawings bring together elements of memories and his own interpretations of the films. As shapes pop in and out, it is clear that many of the artist’s own marks and lines are directly translated into his paintings. Shown together, they give full insight into Schiemann’s oeuvre.