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September 1, 2015 — October 10, 2015

MIER GALLERY is proud to present German artist Jana Schröder’s solo exhibition, Spontacts. The exhibition will open on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 1107 Greenacre Avenue in West Hollywood, and will be on view through October 10, 2015. An opening reception will be held on September 1 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.

Given the title of Jana Schröder’s painting series Spontacts one might expect to see images in the tradition of Action Painting. But her work doesn’t simply draw on this genre. Rather than just creating a document of a virtuosic performance, Schröder produces two types of very different and enormous paintings that seek to question the validity of traditional painting gestures and the sheer application of color as a subject of contemporary art.

As in most of her work, Schröder addresses the issue of the legitimation of contemporary painting – a claim that doesn’t just announce itself through an “attitude of subtraction”, but which relies on an image produced by the act of painting itself. She achieves this by creating an interaction of overlapping colors and layers of paint that create meaning not only on the basis of the gestures that created them, but also through their references to everyday acts of handwriting and scribbling. In combination with her use of colors, Schröder uses the aesthetics of these practices to create spontaneous and original aesthetic effects. She uses oil paint to slowly transition initials, signatures, abbreviations, and curls onto a large scale canvas, and by doing so, she manages to isolate and highlight their sheer form. Thus, this work doesn’t only embrace the act of painting itself, but is ultimately targeted towards aesthetic achievement. In some of the paintings, the indelible pencil, with its contemporary color scheme and its absurd chemical nature (it irrevocably fades when exposed to UV radiation), serves as the perfect platform for expressing gestures freely and as a finalizing act. Despite the extensive overlay of lines and gestures in theses works, the artistic process and the very act of painting remains visible as each layer is still traceable. Additionally, one ambiguous element remains: the background of the painting, although painted more swiftly and gesturally, is blurred and becomes an echo of the work’s dominant protagonist, i.e. the final, slowly and consciously completed line in oil paint.

Far more diffuse are the heavy, crusty oil paintings within the series. Onto the swiftly painted, impastoed blue background, several layers of slowly and more carefully painted lines are applied that share the same references. What emerges through this process is a mostly monochromatic relief of gestures, which, due to its information overload and density, prevents the reconstruction of the actual painting act. Individual layers are virtually merging, which denies potential hierarchies throughout the painting and produces a sublime portrait of never-ending overlays.

Despite their different appearances, Schröder’s two types of paintings are mutually dependent. Indeed, regarding their very essence, one might even consider them equivalent. Through the noticeable overlay of speed and slowing-down that dominates this work, Schröder has us as the viewers to consider the parameters of pace and speed in painting. By doing so, she successfully manages to show us the essence of spontaneous painting acts without depicting its sole autonomy. Despite the fact that both the painterly depiction of free gestures, as well as the monochromatic use of the color blue, are rather loaded in their iconic references, Schröder, nevertheless manages to use them in a way that cleverly opens up a new aesthetic level. The casual and en passant manner in which the scribblings appear on canvas is not only contemporary in its visual style, but also suggests an energetic overlapping of different levels of meaning. This unique quality points us towards important questions within the genre of contemporary painting.

Inci Yilmaz, 2015
(Translated from German)

Jana Schröder (b. 1983, Brilon, Germany) graduated from the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf under Albert Oehlen in 2009. Recent group exhibitions include: Hausreste, curated by Albert Oehlen, Haus der Kunst Sankt Josef, Solothurn, Switzerland; L‘aventura – Die mit der Liebe spielen, Palazzo Guaineri delle Cossere, Brescia, Italy; and fine line?, KIT – Kunst im Tunnel, Düsseldorf. This is Schröder’s first solo show, and her first exhibition in The United States.