Now or Else. The artist's paintings and works on paper generate vibrant energies and tensions due to their wide spectrum of materials and techniques: large, dynamic forms enclose fine graphic structures, bright colours encounter subdued tones.
Charline von Heyl’s paintings and works on paper generate vibrant energies and tensions due to their wide spectrum of materials and techniques: large, dynamic forms enclose fine graphic structures, bright colours encounter subdued tones, abstract expression confronts the fleeting memory of something real. Figure and background exist in a permanently shimmering interchange. The relationships in these images are complicated, bold and mysterious, but so much charged with atmosphere and emotion that they address us directly despite evading swift categorisation. Charline von Heyl creates images which, as she herself says “have the iconic significance of symbols but nonetheless remain enigmatic in meaning; something that feels like representation although it is not; something that looks as if it would have content or a story although that is not the case; something that continues to float in front of the image rather than existing within it.”
The exhibition Now or Else in Nürnberg was conceived and organised in collaboration with Tate Liverpool. It offers a condensed view of the artist’s creativity over the last 15 years, with around 25 paintings and a group of current works on paper. In her early works Charline von Heyl often refers to aspects of 20th century painting style using fragments and citations, but the new works – an emphasis in our exhibition – are serial in character; elements are frequently readopted, transformed and combined in surprising new ways. Recycling and repetition, invention and destruction, and constantly changing conditions are characteristic of Charline von Heyl’s pictures, which are painted in an entirely classical manner, although occasionally they may appear to have been composed at the computer.
The artist was born in Germany in 1960. She completed her art studies in Hamburg and Düsseldorf and has lived in New York and Marfa (Texas) since 1996.
Image: © Charline von Heyl
Acrylic, oil and oilstick on linen
82 x 74 inches
Collection of Carole Server Frankel, New York
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