Charline von Heyl at Friedrich Petzel, installation views.
Charline von Heyl was born in 1960 in Germany and has been living and working in New York since 1994. Her work has been exhibited both in the United States and abroad, including solo exhibitions at Westlondonprojects, London; Le Consortium, Dijon; the Dallas Museum of Art and in the Vienna Secession. Von Heyl's works are in the collections of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. So why wasn't I familiar with her work until @artfagcity tweeted about it a couple weeks ago? I stopped by her show at Friedrich Petzel last week. It's terrific.
In Time Out New York Joseph R. Wolin suggests that von Heyl's paintings exploit the conventions of abstract painting while adding suggestions of representation to to her potent mix of gestural brushwork and hard-edged forms. "At once forbidding and celebratory, structured and improvisational, works like these do not exactly reinvent the genre, but they do remind us that abstract painting has always visually manifested the traces of an artist’s studio activity, making decisions and applying pigment to canvas. In Von Heyl’s hands, that is still exciting to see."
On the occasion of her 2006 show, Jerry Saltz wrote that much of von Heyl's art takes us to a "wonderful snake pit where styles he thought were outmoded turn dangerous again...her paintings are visually conflicted yet confident in this ambiguous state, self-conscious while being self-assured. They tell the story of their own making." Well, as @Bill Gusky pointed out, maybe not exactly "dangerous," but they're good paintings nonetheless.
"Charline von Heyl," Friedrich Petzel, New York, NY. Through May 1.