Opening her first exhibition with Gagosian since announcing her representation by the gallery last year, Katharina Grosse has brought a swirling, nuanced body of new works to the gallery’s 24th Street location in Chelsea this month, documenting her enigmatic approach to the painted canvas through a variety of approaches and forms. Allowing varied layers and lines to intersect, overlap and combine, the artist’s gestural techniques, in conversation with her use of various technologies in the rendering of the canvas, create densely packed spaces of visual information.
Grosse’s use of an industrial spray cannon in the creation of her works is widely documented, using its powerful capacities to spread immense swaths of paint over the surface of her works, while the thickness of each layer gives way to delicate blends in color and line, with paint trails trickling under or through each other’s pathways in intricate networks of coloration.
Yet Grosse’s interest in the power of her tools is equally tempered by her sense of construction on the canvas, using blocked out spaces and unexpected inflections on the human form to mark out gaps and ruptures in the consistency of the work’s surface. In one particularly impressive large-scale piece, the artist has chopped a massive, curving form from the center of the canvas, creating two separate patterns of movement on the surface of the work. The dialogue between the two, and the sense of time to render such a complex image, ultimately suspends the work in a a more explicit relationship to time, to the process of construction and arrangement that seems to grow ever more prominent in consideration of the swift movements of her streams of paint.
A similar approach to space and time can be seen in the show’s lone sculpture, a sprawling hunk of cast metal that twists and winds its way across the gallery floor, covered in subtle ripples of material and accented by the artist’s same lances of color over its surface. As Grosse’s paintings accent a certain architectural element withheld (by the gaps and breaks in the lines running over each canvas), this work seems to function as a stand-in for each removed element, a sort of structural remainder that emphasizes Grosse’s interests in space and function. Reading each painting in conjunction with Grosse’s sculptural work, the awareness not only of her technique, but of the relationship between presence and absence, gesture and withdrawal, is made far more explicit.
Tracing her movements both across canvases and through three-dimensional space, Katharina Grosse’s work is on view at Gagosian Gallery through March 11th.
— D. Creahan
Katharina Grosse at Gagosian Gallery [Exhibition Site]