Almine Rech Gallery New York is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Erik Lindman. His first solo exhibition in the city where he lives and works, the show will feature a group of large-scale vertical paintings as well as several smaller works, all of which exemplify his open-ended curiosity about how painting functions at this moment in time. Though his work is notable for its subtlety and its exploration of painting's constituent parts (including its material supports, pigments, and mediums), Lindman also poses broad questions about why paintings get made and why viewers return to look at them again and again, simultaneously focusing attention on their cultural ramifications and the plain facts of their existence.
The majority of the works on view feature a central, often monumental form isolated on a monochromatic field. If this figure-ground relationship is a constant, the means by which Lindman establishes it differ radically from one painting to the next. In some cases he scavenges materials like luan or stainless steel from his urban surroundings, affixes them seamlessly to panels, and then applies paint to them. In others he proceeds in a more traditional manner, finding forms through the act of painting and inscribing shapes on linen grounds. The preparation and inherent physical qualities of these various surfaces, and the way paint moves across them, become important factors in the evolution of each composition.
Rather than treat the painting surface as a metaphysically pure, idealized concept, Lindman constantly constructs it anew, calling attention to the fact that surface is not a singular phenomenon but always a coming together of materials (including paint itself) that are made to adhere to one another. He has also recently begun to experiment with grinding his own pigments, creating paints that are less uniform in their consistency than their industrially produced counterparts. Such operations introduce a measure of unpredictability that finds expression in the dynamic and thoughtful mood that defines the finished works, which combine the everyday intimacy of collage with the contemplative gravity of minimalist sculpture.
However, Lindman also recognizes that paintings differ from other kinds of surfaces, and retain specific cultural meaning as perceptually active places where viewers are free to engage visual phenomena on aesthetic terms––an engagement that involves grappling with the basic mystery of what makes something 'aesthetic' in the first place. The found materials that sometimes make their way into Lindman's compositions are therefore carefully integrated so that pre-existing narratives about their prior lives out in the world do not prevent them from being read as two-dimensional elements in a painterly syntax. Like the shapes that emerge from his drawing practice and find their ways into his paintings, these materials are no more––and no less––than examples of the ways in which the artist interacts with his environment, translating his experience of local conditions into forms that engender independent experiences for viewers in other places and at other times.
For Lindman, there is therefore no hard distinction between what is found and what is
invented. This also applies to the histories of modernism and non-objective painting that
inform his work without wholly accounting for its power. Though abstraction has been
put to a wide variety of uses in different social and aesthetic contexts, serving as the engine
for everything from radical political art to mannerist decoration, it remains possible to
consider it as its own category with its own rules, however difficult these might be to define.
Lindman orients his work precisely towards this shadowy but intimately familiar place,
seeking to channel the animating spirit of a cultural force that can be visceral or cerebral,
accessible or rarefied, depending on how––and by whom––it is used. For this reason his
paintings are personal documents that directly acknowledge the time and place in which
they are made. And while his titles occasionally serve as prompts, pointing toward the
memories, observations, or ideas underpinning his imagery, Lindman resists assuming a
wholly autobiographical stance. His presence instead serves as a conduit through which
each individual viewer is invited to participate in the shared activity of remaking painting,here and now, out of the things that exist around and within us.
Text by Stuart Krimko
Image: Untitled (Standing Blue), 2016
Found surfaces (sheet metal, stainless steel), oil, alkyd and Bondo on linen over panel.
78 x 46 inches
I'm honored to be included in this exhibition, curated by Marie Maertens, exploring a dialogue between the wonderful French artists associated with Support/Surface and American artists of my generation. Opening this Friday, June 23rd, at le 109 in Nice, France.
Almine Rech will present a two artist booth showing my work along with that of Justin Adian at the Zona Maco art fair in Mexico City.
Image: Uniform (For Walter P.), 2016.
Found Surfaces (Luan), Aluminum, Oil, Acrylic and Enamel on Panel. 78 x 46"
My work is included in the following exhibition, curated by Rolf Hoff of the Kaviar Factory, at the Foundation Hippocrène in Paris, France.
Pour la 15ème édition de Propos d’Europe, exposition annuelle d’art contemporain promouvant la rencontre et la création d’artistes européens émergents et confirmés, la Fondation Hippocrène invite cette année la KaviarFactory de Norvège, mettant ainsi à l’honneur la scène contemporaine nordique. L’ancienne agence de l’architecte moderniste Robert Mallet-Stevens accueillera, du 29 septembre au 3 décembre 2016, une partie de la collection de Rolf et Venke Hoff – grands collectionneurs norvégiens depuis trente ans, fondateurs du centre d’art situé dans les îles Lofoten – qui sera dévoilée aussi amplement pour la toute première fois à l’étranger. Intitulée Expanding Frontiers, l’exposition, dont le commissariat est assuré par Rolf Hoff, permettra de découvrir une trentaine d’oeuvres principalement conceptuelles et de tous médiums de 25 artistes contemporains internationaux, majoritairement norvégiens et scandinaves, pour la plupart peu connus en Europe et exposant parfois pour la première fois en France. Cette exposition marquera également la quatrième collaboration de la Fondation Hippocrène avec une fondation ou structure privée et européenne d’art contemporain.
"Metal Paintings" at Almine Rech, London, will be on view from September 12 — November 05, 2016
Opening on Monday, September 12th, 2016 from 6 - 8 pm
In Erik Lindman’s new works, the artist creates fresh abstract forms with a fine attunement to painterly details, constellated around various found surfaces and their treatment as compositional elements, surfaces, and supports. The majority of these new works are on primed or linen-wrapped panel that are affixed with thin sheets of aluminum or steel sheetmetal (or occasionally other flat, less-identifiable building materials), which are disguised and revealed to varying degrees by the application of paint on and around them. Colors and forms tend to accrete in the center of the painting, framed by white or unpainted space.
These found elements, which were picked up on regular walks by Lindman around the neighborhood of his studio in Harlem, Manhattan, are handled in a way that is characteristic of the artist’s cogitative approach, wherein material economy becomes an entry point to a particular type of seeing. To the extent that these compositions restrict form, color, and representation, they may elicit a subtle awareness through the shifts in perception that occur as a viewer’s focus wanders between the process of painting and its effects.
In his use of metal, Lindman attaches the found element to the support invisibly, then builds up paint around its edges, bringing it nearly level with the surrounding layers of paint so that it appears practically embedded in the painting’s surface. Almost flush with the ground of the paintings, these metal sectors receive paint in uneven ways and emit a faint, irrepressible sheen. The complicated flatness of each composition becomes a stage to exhibit detailed wrinkles, scratches, and striations in the paint, margins where color and metal meet, and expanses of thin pigment stretched across scuffed reflective veneers. Scrutinizing this paint on metal, we might add the layer of our own optical, tactile, and spatial experience. The vertical shape and human height of the pieces, along with their recurring narrow central figures, offer an analog to the instinctive, somatic self lying deep in our bodies. Awareness is a feedback loop created somewhere between our faculties and the object, while the boundaries of a painting could provide a theoretical if not a literal kind of mirror.
Lindman has also created several small works using fragments of steel welded to steel panels,
occasionally adding oil paint. In these pieces, rather than inserting metal into a painting, the
artist effectively creates the painting in metal; a stainless, enduring stand-in. But their
modest scale diminishes any lingering bravado associated with their rugged materials and
provides a counterpoint to the larger works on panel.
Presence, an ambiguous noun attributable to both humans and objects, could also be the invisible stratum differentiating a painting from an image. Lindman creates frameworks for examining this liminal terrain through a sensitive range of micro-variegations. Transmitting exchanges between light shining forth from alloy, absorbed into painted color or blank primer, these works imagine an encounter with the irreducible.
Image: Untitled (Blue Bells), 2015-2016
Found Surfaces (Sheetmetal) and Oil on Linen over Panel. 78 x 46 inches.