Margaret Thatcher Projects is pleased to present TWINS, the gallery’s second solo exhibition of New York-based German artist Rainer Gross. The exhibition features Gross’ continuing exploration of sensuous abstract paintings that are created by a unique technique developed by the artist. As their name implies, the TWINS compositions are two painted surfaces that the artist presents as a diptych, each panel imprinting on and mirroring the other.
Gross’ process is alchemic in nature. He first paints six or seven layers of different-colored pigments suspended in water on one canvas. These are neither a solid color nor a pattern, but each layer covers the last completely. He then applies an approximately 1/8-inch-thick layer of paint on another canvas of equal size, pressing them together and leaving them to “cure” overnight. Once the materials have dried, Gross pulls the canvases apart, revealing the parts of the surface that have adhered to the other. This idiosyncratic technique produces a consciously unpredictable crackled impasto landscape, a bit wild and seductive.
Gross, who is interested in the international and interdisciplinary Fluxus movement, finds titles for his TWINS by randomly selecting names from the phonebook. The paired paintings thus become a conceptual endeavor as the artist relinquishes control, allowing uninhibited fate and chance to assert their opportunity. Gross displays the lush, supersaturated canvases side by side, usually adding a twist by turning one of the panels 180 degrees. In an interview with James Kalm in The Brooklyn Rail, Gross states, “I don’t see them as abstract. They’re real to me. There’s some kind of birthing process that goes into them. I liked the distancing, the organic randomness of nature.” The esoteric series continues to flourish as the artist experiments with dramatic and venturesome color schemes.
Rainer Gross was born in Köln, Germany in 1951. He has lived and worked in New York City for 45 years. In 2017, Gross was included in the Beijing Biennale as a representative of Germany. In 2012, the Museum Ludwig (Koblenz, Germany) held a four-decade survey of his paintings. Other notable national and international exhibits include the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts (Lausanne, Switzerland), Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion (Champaign, Illinois), Kunsthalle Emden (Emden, Germany), Galerie Stefan Röpke (Köln, Germany), and Galerie Arnés y Röpke, (Madrid, Spain). Gross’ paintings are housed in numerous public collections, including the AT&T Corporate Art Collection, the Cohen Family Collection, the Hirschhorn Collection, the UBS Union Bank of Switzerland, and the Lowe Art Museum. His work has been reviewed by the New York Times, Art in America, ArtNews, The Brooklyn Rail, The Boston Globe, and others.