GALERIE ANJA KNOESS, Cologne
GALERIE ANJA KNOESS shows a display of contrasting work by American and German based artist Sarah McRae Morton (1984) and Beijing based German artist Martin Wehmer (1968). Both painters'works reveal an intellectual and sophisticated approach with continuing concern for foundational philosophies of modernist painting, representation and how the physical reality of the world is addressed in the act and result of painting, as well as its appearance as contemporary commentary.
Sarah McRae Morton’s work appears as a surreal revisiting of 19th century painting. There is symbolism in the language of the paint application, passages that appear like vignettes of former era in art refer to the theme of history repeating itself. Her compositions are both dreamlike and haunting, at once familiar and comforting, provocative and unsettling. There is a focus on formal aspects of composition to build narratives, but very important is the evidence of observation and the underlying – actually based — political commentary.
Martin Wehmer, who is deeply devoted to the act of painting has considered carefully its continued relevancy in examining ways of seeing, using painterly vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism, including complex pictorial structuring and color relationships. While the architecture of his work clearly utilizes the lineage of Non-Objective Art, the works are still primarily situated in the context of figuration and representation. Wehmer is rigorous in addressing modernist art and sophisticated in his method and thinking. However, he doesn’t pursue a formally reductionist agenda for an accounting of his shifting interests and repeated returns to representation and ongoing engagement of the figure.