Van Doren Waxter is delighted to present Birds, a solo exhibition of a brand-new series of oil on canvas paintings by Brooklyn-based, German artist Volker Hüller. The artist will create an immersive and color-saturated installation as a backdrop for the paintings on the 3rd floor of the gallery’s 1907 townhouse. Volker Hüller: Birds, will be on view from May 6 – July 2, 2021 at 23 East 73rd Street. The show presents a suite of recently completed works (all 2021) which Hüller began in 2020, as the artist and his wife welcomed the birth of their first child during the middle of a pandemic. “Hope,” the poet Emily Dickinson wrote, “is a thing with feathers / That perches in the soul” – and these images of birds allude to a contemplative and hopeful view of the world. The artist, noted for his intricately layered canvases characterized by their multidimensional surfaces and materiality, has painted several of these birds in the presence of the moon, and as pictures, they act as moody ciphers of nature, of travel, and of renewal. This is the artist’s sixth solo exhibition in New York.
In a practice that often reveals scenes from the artist’s personal life, as well as misadventure and mythology,Volker Hüller’s work always vacillates between representation and stylized abstraction; and in these new paintings, the bird image becomes a poetic – and even humorous – image for the artist to communicate ideas about contemplating ways of being and the act of painting. Akin to previous bodies of work by the artist, his loaded, compressed worlds are filled with symbols, the subconscious, and allusions to art and history.
As with most natural creatures, birds are all around us, appearing and disappearing; yet they are also messengers of spring and symbols of migration, landing gracefully, and perhaps perching awkwardly, before us after a long sojourn. Like the act of painting, they convey universal ideas about searching and looking, while also alluding to place and travel, such as the work titled Rockaway Beach, 2021. The light of a distinct sun or moon (seen here as orange, black, and blue orbs) helps to define the weather and the surrounding atmosphere, lushly painted with short, dappled strokes and delicate line work in the blue-tinged In the Still of the Night, 2021, in which a pair of raptors with sharp, pointed beaks sit prone as if on a high perch in the darkness. The birds in Hüller’s new pictures help to locate the viewer – and painter - to stand in place to look out and imagine and picture a site beyond our current condition.
Volker Hüller was born in 1976 in Forchheim, Germany and currently works in NY, where he has lived in Brooklyn since 2014. Hüller currently has a solo exhibition at Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam (Spring 2021) and has a forthcoming one at Produzentengalerie, Hamburg (2022). The artist studied under the late Norbert Schwontkowski at the Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg. Past solo exhibitions include Timothy Taylor, London (2010, 2013); Produzentengalerie, Hamburg (2009, 2012, 2017); 11R - Eleven Rivington, NY (2009, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018); Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam (2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2019); and group shows at Nicelle Beauchene, NY; Saatchi Gallery, London; the Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg; and Weserburg Museum, Bremen. The artist’s work has been featured and reviewed in Artforum, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time Out New York, and Modern Painters, among other publications. Hüller’swork is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, NY; Dallas Museum of Art, TX; and the Israel Museum.