‘Day After Day It Reappears’: See the results when abstract art, photos meld By Kimberly Chun
Ordinarily it’s hard to make out Brooklyn artist Markus Linnenbrink behind the candycolored drips on his wood panels, the man behind the juicy-looking blocks of resin. But in “Day After Day It Reappears” at Patricia Sweetow Gallery, he’s figuratively and literally emerging from behind his abstractions.
“TIMECAPSULE(NOLOVELOST),” for example, sees a photograph of the artist as a child along with his sister and friends obscured by rainbow hued stripes of epoxy resin that almost resemble the ticks in a timeline. “They’re all staring in one direction – that’s what I found interesting. It’s almost like they’re looking into their future, all the time and history passing between there and now,” says Linnenbrink, 52, of the image from his native Germany. The glossy strips look as if they’re still wet and dripping, which he likes. “it looks like it comes out of a moment when time was frozen, which we can never achieve.”
That work, like softer, watercolor-ish “IHEARDYOURNAMETHEOTHERDAY,” are part of “a forced marriage with the photo image and abstract painting,” as Linnenbrink puts it, that he’s been working on for the past five years. “It rubs a lot of people the wrong way. Some of my collectors think, what is he doing? It’s not about abstract painting or representational painting – it’s about how the medium transports what’s happening on the canvas.”
The photographs are drawn from his father’s archives, who shot many images while working in Romania in the early ’70’s, Pakistan in the early ’80’s, Korea in the mid-to late ’80’s. “Becoming older you’ve lived through more and you try to make connections and learn about the time that’s passed,” Linnenbrink says of the approach. “I try to have (photos and paint) crash and see what comes out of it. I’m not in the position to say, ‘This is what’s happening.’ Let’s see what happens and how the process itself of painting and the photos can grow. It’s a new thing somehow…”
The exhibition of recent works, done at the end of 2012 through 2013, includes “drill” pieces, in which Linnenbrink layers the paint, then drills into the surface – “it’s like archaeology,” he says – as well as “reverse” works of pooling pigment. “What I like about this new body of work is that every piece has this overload of information in a visual way, which is something we deal with on a daily basis,” explains the artist. “Everyone has way too much imagery to look at all the time, screens to look at. What would help is if you start to look at my paintings and let them transform themselves while looking at them, without trying to decipher them.”