The work of Bernd Lohaus and John Beech have never been shown together. The project at the Artissima Dialogue section seeks to explore the correspondences and discrepancies between two approaches to sculpture and drawing by two artists from different generations and historical backgrounds.
Wood excavated from shipyards, automobile floor mats used as printing stamps, packing tape used to create lines in space and on canvas, are all characters in the very direct processes and actions of John Beech and Bernd Lohaus. Found objects and everyday materials are altered during the working process but remain visible as what they were. In this way both artists have managed to initiate an osmosis between life and art rendering both not the same but inseparable.
Studios acting as warehouses and laboratories at the same time, Beech and Lohaus have taken, from nature and industry to give found objects and everyday materials a new artistic life of their own. With a few simple interventions, like notching or inscribing with chalk, Lohaus’ found wood was made as if to vibrate, to resound, to speak. Old used wooden beams, wooden boards, and sometimes old ropes are a special kind of flotsam: originally natural materials, at the same time they transport a bit of human history that has been materially weathered into them.
In a similar fashion, Beech manages to use the “street found” quality of his materials, and their inherent histories, to his advantage by creating unexpectedly beautiful works from plywood, nuts and bolts, rubber mats, industrial glues and enamel paints. By employing processes like sawing, fastening, rotating, pressing and dipping he pulls off a cultivated grace bred from a unique way of merging formal concerns of 20th Century minimal art with utilitarian design seen in the urban landscape.
John Beech (b. 1964), is an American artist who was born and raised in Britain, lives and works in Brooklyn and has traveled extensively throughout the world gathering sources for his work and numerous books. His works on paper, which will be exhibited here, are made by transferring paint from acrylic sheets of various sizes to create flat forms through a hand- pressed printing method. The compositions are not predetermined, but rather arrived at through a build up of printed color rectangles until the work comes together as a single configuration with incidental marks from the process remaining evident.
Bernd Lohaus (1940-2010) created his first works directly in Beuys’ class, and they were exhibited in the gallery circuit of the Academy at that time. At the center of this sculptural oeuvre stand the ensembles and individual pieces made of heavy beams, boards, blocks, and cubes of azobé (red ironwood), West Africa’s hardest wood. Later in his life Lohaus began to experiment with traditional casting techniques by using simple wooden boxes as models for bronze sculptures.