Gerhard Himmer at the Ve.sch

Engaging Gerhard Himmer’s large paintings is as it were to engage color-field work that not just envelop the psyche but additionally tenses its frequency of vibration.  In the large room of the Ve.sch gallery are five large equally scaled vertical paintings.  Three are violet/magenta and white compositions and two are black and white compositions.  In this series Himmer marks his own take of the historical dialogue of allover, color-field, splatter, and performance abstraction with a resonating break.

Exhibition view, Gerhard Himmer, Misprints, Ve.sch, Photo: ©

In consequence of the size of the color space that they define, Himmer’s paintings necessitate a physical response and concurrently depict definite images.  Friction, gravity and flatness as well as the concern of absenting gestural decisions are the imprint on Himmer’s canvases.

Exhibition view, Gerhard Himmer, Misprints, Ve.sch, Photo: ©

Ostensibly, Himmer engages removal.  His compositions are done entirely through a means of application of droplets of turpentine made to trail through a wet painting.  The path the drops take is inherently dictated by gravity as well as a molecular conflict between the two mediums. Due to the dissolvent nature of turpentine to paint, the dripping droplets produce sequences tracing the friction of the extraction in negative shapes.  Himmer manipulates a process not unlike predecessors except that his is an image tuned to resonate at a pitch that Pat Steir may never have understood. A likeminded contemporary is Philip Vanderhyden, though Himmer restricts his palette working in series and handles large scales not just as a nod to the history of the genre but to underscore the tension formed by friction.

Exhibition view, Gerhard Himmer, Misprints, Ve.sch, Photo: ©

Also in Vienna, on view at Café Hummel are a group of Himmer’s paintings. Though the model of café art shows otherwise might imply an absence of criticality, Himmer’s paintings pageant his query with an indifference to their immediate company.  The double negative of the removal of paint and the absence of the artist’s gesture produce the coolness that is untouched by the coffee house scenario.

– Ezara Spangl

Gerhard Himmer ,Misprints
Ve.sch – Verein für Raum und Form in der bildenden Kunst
Schikanedergasse 11, A-1040 Wien
March 14  – April 4, 2014

Gerhard Himmer
Café Hummel
Kunst Im Hummel Vol. 4
January – April 2014
Josefstädter Strasse 66, 1080 Wien