Matthias Buch and Katherina Olschbaur at Büro Weltausstellung

Matthias Buch and Katherina Olschbaur’s concurrent solo presentations in Dickicht (thicket) place each painterly practice as likeminded in their noncompetitive socio-political expressions.

© Matthias Buch
© Matthias Buch

Buch presents a row of three paintings hanging across from a mirrored wall.  The architectural element, the big mirror, here supports Buch’s work by providing twice the occasion for the gaze.  Buch’s paintings are dense in layered marks and striking color relationships.  Having at once the prospect of a first hand and secondary view of the work is the chance to relish in these profuse paintings.  There is a hectic density encasing his works that is likable to a social critique analogous to the epic collages of Mark Bradford, but Buch’s works are not as directly traceable to his immediate neighborhood.

© Matthias Buch
© Matthias Buch

Working with oil paint on canvas Buch embraces traditions of academic painting to create self-encasing surfaces.  Washy underpaintings of lines form constructions upon which are built-up shaded and blended shapes.  The initially drawn lines remain visible not eradicating anything in the mesh of working detail.  It is as though Buch fractures his pictorial groundings and scatters the remaining shards.  Using varying, all hand negotiable, brush sizes, Buch layers over and over finishing with extremely thin pen liner size marks.  His open-door policy toward his palette functions like a batik dye.  On top of the neutral grounds and multiplicity of marks and colors, the slim neon highlights become toned down.  There is undoubtedly a likening to hallucination or, more locally apropos, a means for viewers to engage a psychotherapeutic-maze bringing to mind immediate physical confrontations such as street traffic and air quality.

© Katherina Olschbaur
© Katherina Olschbaur

In the other room of the gallery a group of Olschbaur’s paintings present her inquiry of nuance and contour.  With a palette dominated by neutral tones, her application of layering forms evokes a zooming in and out of the subject.  Just when observational elements appear such as folds of paper or fabric, then with a slight adjustment to the view an altogether different perspective is encountered.  With soft though definitive edges, Olschbaur delivers this duality in each singular work with an alluring atmosphere.Subtly, a pairing of Olschbaur’s paintings engage in the political discourse of the Occupy movement in the use of support/surface to literally unhinge the normative power allocation by revealing and stressing the support mechanism.  These two works, hanging together on one wall of the gallery, are arguably the most referential in their depiction of a still-life narrative. Olschbaur broadens the context of her work as she manipulates observational painting to envelope minimalist and conceptual abstraction.

© Katherina Olschbaur
© Katherina Olschbaur

Painting the stretcher bars that stand behind the canvas, she brings the support to the foreground.  This is echoed by the visible, and painted, element of the stretcher bars seen through the shaped hole on the surface.  A space is depicted, it looks like a sort of shelf or closet, which is freed from nostalgia and comes into a present moment as the construction is it’s own shape.  The amalgamation of the structure and mode of delivery joins in a third wave feminist mode of application.  Cutting the canvas, Olschbaur’s lines take physical form as this device of negative space turns into a compositional edifice and obfuscates the authority of the canvas.  The only critique Olschbaur may take away is that hers are small steps as she nears a new extreme.  In the piece that is dominated by its cutout form so much that it allows the canvas to fold back over its own stretcher, Olschbaur relies on a modernist table-top-like composition to permit for performed aggression.

Layering and application of brush strokes act in both Buch and Olschbaur’s works with likening importance.  Duality also runs parallel in each artist’s work.  In Buch’s paintings urgency and exuberant engagement are entwined with passivity and an openness of mind. Olschbaur’s paintings doubly change focus while alluding to immeasurable significance.

– Ezara Spangl

Matthias Buch
Katherina Olschbaur
im Rahmen der Ausstellungsreihe DIN 55943 – international young painting positions
Eröffnung: 26. Juli 2013 19:00 Uhr
Büro Weltausstellung
Praterstraße 42 / Stiege 1 / Mezzanin
1020 Wien

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