I dropped into Luhring Augustine gallery this week to see what was on view. To my surprise, there was a show of work by Albert Oehlen, a German artist who worked and hung out with Martin Kinppenbergerin the early 1980's. They collaborated on several paintings; the current MOMA show features a car which Kippenberger and Oehlen painted together. It was not my favorite pieces in the show, but offered an interesting prospective, and a far-out example of what is accepted as art.
The Luhring Augustine's show includes a selection of Oehlen's new work; ten large-scale advertisement paintings. I like the work very much. It's somewhat in the same line as the paintings I am currently working on. I appreciate Oehlen's synthesis of painting and billboard graphics, which gives a context and visual appeal to the work. The juxtaposition of the two media sets up a disassociated abstraction, which plays out on the canvas. The structure and use of white space sets up a visual counterpoint to the constrained area covered by the imagery. I think these paintings reflect contemporary exposure to the bombardment of mass media in all its forms. Art like Oehlen's acts as a reflective catalyst.