NINO MIER GALLERY is pleased to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition by German artist André Butzer opening August 26, 2017 and on view through October 7 at MIER’s two adjacent spaces in West Hollywood. Comprised of new N-Bilder, or N-paintings, the exhibition furthers Butzer’s exploration into the maximum potential of painting to convey both light and color. The oil paintings on view integrate the artist’s intensive focus on the visual aspects of paint, brightness and hue, drawing harmony from varying contexts and references often set in stark opposition to one another. This is the artist’s first solo show in Los Angeles since 2008.
Much of Butzer’s work considers the radical notion that color and history are inextricably linked, seen in his earlier series of densely chromatic, expressionist works where pop-cultural and art-historical references run roughshod over another through vigorously applied impasto swathes of oil paint. These paintings, representative of his “Science-Fiction-Expressionism”, utilize all manner of references from corporate logos to cartoon figures, compressing together symbols of 20th century cultural, political and technological thought into his characteristically dense works. First shown in 2010, Butzer’s N-Bilder have extended his use of pigmentation and visual contrast to create moments of complete, terminal abstraction absent of any figuration.
Formally named NASAHEIM after a German portmanteau for the words NASA and “home”, the N-Bilder nod towards mid-20th century American optimism, yet are simultaneously freed from any direct analogies to cultural lineages of the past. The works take their name after “Anaheim”, the location of Disneyland originally settled by German immigrants, which linguistically references Butzer’s embrace of opposed concepts – familiarity and oddity, intimacy and remoteness. Foregoing identification along geometric parameters of foreground and background, or horizontal against vertical, the works relate instead within the incorporeal, psychological space of the viewer. Shades of black, grey and brilliant strokes of white unify vast spectrums of tint, composition and color.
On view will be new N-Bilder on canvas, works on paper, as well a vividly colorful painting of a female character. This single figurative piece references back to Butzer’s earliest Nasaheim works where wide-eyed characters are consistently portrayed against a bright-blue sky, or “Himmel”, German for “heaven”, with considerable chromatic contrast and variation. In Butzer’s painting, contrast becomes a formal element that goes to the primordial root of color, allowing hues, tones and tints to be differentiated, a property also central to his N-Bilder. Strikingly in this piece, however, the sky blue is painted not as a background element but rather as part of the young girl’s skirt she wears on her figure. This suggests a return not only to Butzer’s previous figurative motifs, but also a condition where he has achieved a deeply harmonic resonance unifying both the totality of painting, as well as the contrasts within his own practice.