Art opening: Gabriel Vormstein: The Teeth of the Wind and the Sea

Critic's Pick Release Date: 2011-01-12

The lessons of Modernism are re-examined in the work of Berlin-based artist Gabriel Vormstein. Taking stylistic cues from Egon Schiele, he most often paints female figures, typically on newspaper and “other transient, organic, and ‘poor’ materials.” Jewel-toned watercolors saturate and warp Vormstein’s pages, giving them a three-dimensional quality not unlike the hills and valleys of a topographic map, and his fluid lines create an odd balance between the cold, hard text in the background and the romantic imagery in the foreground. Titles such as “Capri Sun,” “Tiny Fingers,” and “The Lazy Fun Part II” add an air of whimsy to these portraits, which are, curiously, often rendered on pages from the financial section. As a resident at Artpace, Vormstein began experimenting with sculptural elements said to “extend his two-dimensional works from the walls into the space of the exhibition.” Although he’s been featured in prestigious group shows in Europe, including Of Mice + Men: 4th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, The Teeth of the Wind and the Sea is Vormstein’s first solo museum show in the world and his first American museum project. Opening reception and walk-through: free, 6-8:30pm, Artpace, 445 N Main, (210) 212-4900. On view through May 1.

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