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Installation view of Günther Uecker's Notations exhibition at Lévy Gorvy New York, 2019
Installation view, "Günther Uecker: Notations", Lévy Gorvy, New York, 2019. Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein

Günther Uecker

Notations

Lévy Gorvy New York
November 7 2019 – January 25 2020

Günther Uecker: Notations brings together new large-scale nail paintings with a selection of watercolors from series made by Uecker during his global travels over the past three decades. The exhibition is the first to juxtapose these disparate bodies of work, which together provide deeper insight into Uecker’s practice and the sociopolitical concerns that have informed his artistic efforts over the past 60 years. Notations is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery in New York, and will be on view through January 25, 2020.

To create his signature nail paintings, Uecker stretches canvas over thick panels of wood; works a mixture of white paint and carpenter’s glue into a dense, visceral surface; then hammers nails into the panels, varying their placement, angle, and groupings intuitively to form undulating painted reliefs that cast shadows in constant motion. Unified by pictorial composition and material presence, the nails project out into the viewer’s space, suggesting forces of growth and movement, unity and disruption, order and entropy. A highlight of this new series is Weisser Schrei (White Scream), a painting Uecker describes as a self-portrait.

Uecker’s watercolors reveal a wholly different but essential part of the artist’s practice. Autonomous from but parallel to his studio work, the watercolors are made spontaneously “on the road” by an inveterate traveler responding to his experiences in far-flung locales. In the tradition of the Romantics, Uecker records the intense sensations evoked by landscapes, plant life, architecture, and qualities of light and atmosphere. Abstracting these encounters into idiosyncratic forms and intense colors, Uecker’s watercolors capture the artist’s sense of wonder at the natural world. Through these watercolors, Notations will explore the impact that Uecker’s travels across Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, Israel, Japan, the United States, Vietnam, and other places have had upon him as an artist.

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