For Deininger, painting is a continuous process of coating and uncovering, adding primer, color, and varnish, and then stripping back to raw canvas and opaque areas.She begins with layers of base coats and one abstract form –sometimes a shadow, other times a memory –proceeding almost magically,often without visual brushstrokes or gestural styles. Her resulting intimate abstractions have consistently shown the intensity that a painting can have within a larger space, its edges providing the only index for how it was made and its atmosphere created.
Experimenting here with her paintings’ physical framework, Deininger considers as always the architecture of her installation and the interaction between her viewer, work, and setting. The artist takes on specific sizes and forms, subtly quoting or inverting them throughout each painting. Colors like burgundy and chartreuse reappear vividly but with contrasting proportions, while shapes mysteriously reemerge either within the painting, as the painting's frame, or as the actual canvas-size. As such, Deininger crafts a faint thread of familiarity that travels from the most minimal and quiet work to the more complex and vibrant. Individually, her paintings pronounce themselves as a word or recognizable thought, while together formulating a clear sentence.
Moreover, Deininger is concerned with the connections and associations her canvases spark. Her aim is to find ground between figuration and abstraction, and for the viewer to perceive one painting as describing another, or painted elements as counterparts to others. She invents something very concrete in paint, at times symbolic or figurative, but without defining its subject or source –the idea nodding to painter Phillip Guston, who named several of his works Untitled / Head during his transition in the late 1960’s from painting pure abstraction to what he called “the thing.” Deininger pushes forward with this reference, and in her new body of work hones in on how to bring an idea to physical appearance.
Svenja Deininger (B. Vienna, 1974) has had solo exhibitions in New York City and throughout Europe, including at Federica Schiavo Gallery, Rome; Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; Kunsthalle Krems/Factory, Krems, Austria; and Osterreichisches Kulturforum, Warsaw. Deininger has also participated in group exhibitions at Bob van Orsouw Gallery, Zurich; Josh Lilley Gallery, London; Patricia Law Contemporary, Gstaad; the Wiels Center for Contemporary Art, Brussels; and the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, to name a few. The artist currently lives and works in Vienna.