Joanne Greenbaum at VAN HORN / Düsseldorf

Joanne Greenbaum
Everything Is Perfect In All Ways

18 March – 12 May 2017

Ackerstr. 99
40233 Düsseldorf

Photos @VAN HORN, Düsseldorf

Joanne Greenbaum *1953 is considered as “mother” and role model of a
younger generation of US-american abstract painters. The “organized
chaos” or “chaotic organization” are merely a makeshift to describe the
ambivalence in Joanne Greenbaum’s work. In dazzling loud colors her
compositions oscillate between geometrical forms and a processual,
gestural brushstoke – a play between an apparent regularity of structure
and the impulsive exploration of color. This tension in her work is
supported by the use of a variety of techniques: from the vibrant and
thin application of colored pencil to opaque acrylic and oil colors, as
well as fluorescent markers. Due to the overlapping, layering and the
pervasive fusion of form and color a complex visual cosmos of deeper
dimensions arises and breaks with the two-dimensionality of the surface.
Although Greenbaum is aware of the boundaries of the canvas and
expresses them by painting colored corner elements, the canvas is just
the frame of a wild and boundless imagery which defeats the image
Nevertheless, Greenbaum’s works are not rebellious. They are
juggling playfully and imaginatively with their distinct color and form
vocabulary and create complex correlations in her oeuvre through
repetitive elements. In this artistic game, mistakes are allowed,
because they are rather perceived as random unconscious gestures, which
are perfectly precise because of their imperfection. In this context the
partly nervous, graphical brushstroke is reminder of specific artistic
strategies – such as the “écriture automatique” of the Surrealists –
which bears the Spontaneous and the Unconscious.
Greenbaum’s Oeuvre
contains also other elements which seem to be inspirated by Art
Movements of the 20th century and are subtly integrated into her
autonomous stance in painting. In addition to elements of Cubism,
Abstract Expressionism and the adjacent Color Field Painting, there are
reminiscences to Russian Constructivists. These art historical
references are expanded by inspirations of everyday life: here, both
Comic and Street Art can be a source of inspiration; as well as a note
with telephone doodles.
As a result, Greenbaum’s paintings stand for
an abstraction, which raises diagrammatic and ornamental associations,
creates spaces, and extends abstract painting by diverse references –
painting released from a claustrophobic state, as Greenbaum herself
calls it.