Till Gerhard, ‘Heaven in Hell’, 2008, Stellan Holm Gallery

About Till Gerhard

Straddling realism and expressionism, reality and fiction, Till Gerhard’s large-scale paintings are simultaneously an outgrowth and an inversion of 19th-century Romanticism. Set in idyllic landscapes, Gerhard’s scenes reference pop culture icons (like the Beatles) and 20th-century tumult (as in the 1963 civil rights march in Washington), while exploring themes such as utopia and man versus nature. For example, Dawn (2005) depicts a smattering of youths in a cemetery at sunrise, trying to shake off the effects of some bacchanalian ritual. The warm light that characteristically drenches Gerhard’s canvases has been described as both “apocalyptic” and “ethereal,” alluding in equal measure to a spiritual aura and LSD trips.

German, b. 1971, Hamburg, Germany