Ethereal Space: Christiane Löhr
Christiane Löhr’s recent solo exhibition at Jason McCoy Gallery features work that is at once facile as it is vigorous. But there is a fine balance in line work on paper and delicate sculptures made from found forest foliage.
Löhr’s works on paper explore what happens when white space is bifurcated and sub-divided and how the act of line on paper is both an act of violence and creation. From a distance, they look like traces of movement across a topography. Lines link together like chromosomes telling the story or our shared human history. Approaching the work reveals subtle fingerprints, the maker’s seal left behind - the fingerprint being not unlike the seemingly random lines that comprise these works.
The abstract quality of Löhr’s drawings is like that of Robert Motherwell’s automatism drawings from the 1960s. Löhr’s lines are not as thick and are more methodically drawn than the automatic approach but are as distinguished. And, not as cloudy as Christopher Wool’s line paintings where the line is sometimes disrupted but similar in the linked quality as a history unfolds between the black lines and the dividing space.
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“To me, line and space cannot be divided. On the contrary, they depend on each other. Drawing a line on an empty piece of paper feels like cutting space and dividing it into sections. I observe what the line does to the formerly “untouched” space and what their relationship is to each other.” 1
In contrast to the works on paper, Löhr’s exquisitely delicate sculptures offer some caprice. Löhr’s uses found materials which have been collected from the forest floor with the care of a biologist cataloging rare and as yet undiscovered flora. Some sculptures are shaped in domes like shelters or like spiders with long spindly legs contemplating their next move. Some are in meditative ring formations, the leaves holding hands in solidarity. Miniature scenes of lightly chartreuse leaves and sticks whose fates seem to be in the hands of a light gust of wind which would surely demolish these macro landscapes.
The leaves in Löhr’s sculptures have a paper like quality to them and remind us of the miniature leafed figures of artist Sherri Hay. Other pieces are more constrained and captured like artist Ed Zelenak’s “Vessels” where branches are entrapped in bronze vessels, never to be freed from their shimmering tomb. “In my sculptural works, the materials guide my working process and it is the experimentation with the possibilities and limits of the same that will lead me the result. It feels like a collaboration between the organic materials, my efforts and my will.” 2
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Diffuse: Christiane Löhr on view at Jason McCoy Gallery until May 25, 2018
Written by Laura Horne April 30th, 2018
1. From an Interior Point to an Exterior Shape; Christiane Löhr with Stephanie Buhmann, 2016
2. From an Interior Point to an Exterior Shape; Christiane Löhr with Stephanie Buhmann, 2016
Robert Motherwell: Untitled from The Madrid Suite1965–66 moma.org/collection/works/75208
Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2005, 81 1/2 × 50 in artsy.net
Christiane Löhr, untitled, 2012, oil pastel on paper, 185 x 148 cm http://www.christianeloehr.de/works-drawings.html
Sherri Hay, Dreams of awakening here in this brightness,
Ed Zelenak, Vessels, Dowsing the Edge of Emptiness-Concave #1 15" x 30" x 18" 2004 copper, bronze http://www.edzelenak.com/works/
Christiane Löhr, Grosse Bogenform big arch form, 2013, grass stalks, 16 x 63 x 60 cm