Faith so certain shall never be shaken by heaviest sorrow
May 5 – June 30, 2013
Opening reception Sunday, May 5, 6-8 pm
Exhibition extended through June 30
It is with great pleasure that Simone Subal Gallery announces the opening of Florian Meisenberg’s Faith so certain shall never be shaken by heaviest sorrow on Sunday, May 5, 2013. This is Meisenberg’s first solo exhibition in New York. It runs until June 23, 2013.
Florian Meisenberg experiments greatly with the possibilities of the depicted image. Much of his work reflects self-consciously upon both the process of painting and the specific boundaries of the medium. His investigations have led him to paint both figuratively as well as abstractly, play with issues of scale, create complex installations (or environments), and explore the permutations of different materials (whether those used for support or types of paint or digital media), all in the service of expanding the potential of non-verbal communication. These are works that in their constant awareness of the constructed nature of visual experience nevertheless present to viewers images containing the expressive power of an unmediated here and now.
For Faith so certain shall never be shaken by heaviest sorrow, Meisenberg creates a conversation between his six, large-scale paintings—some hung on exposed drywall studs making both the back and front of the work visible—and a series of videos presented on several flat screens arranged casually throughout the space. Meisenberg began using video in 2009 in an attempt to epitomize the artistic process. Meisenberg’s latest videos are recordings from his computer desktop, in which multiple images compete for the viewer’s attention. These carefully haphazard compositions are performances in the digital realm, and each idiosyncratic yet prescient piece addresses the onslaught of information and the way screens mediate daily life. They also capture Meisenberg’s process of painting: a decidedly analog activity.
The paintings, like the videos, are another surface upon which to make images. They operate in the same space, as if one was the continuation of the other and vice versa. The poetically restrained paintings contain an internal tension between medium and pigment, one that represents the conflict between the transcendental and the material as well as between the digital and analog. For Meisenberg, the exploration into this fundamental opposition is an effort to create a universal language not bound to material experience but nevertheless aware of the physical world. This is made possible, in part, by his frequent use of linseed oil, what he considers “paintless paint,” on partially primed canvas. Because the linseed oil is unstable, actively soaking into the canvas, Meisenberg must rest the painting on the ground for several days. As the oil dries, a chance-derived shape develops, which not only signals the unique agency of the paint, as if it has a will of its own, but also informs Meisenberg’s subsequent moves, including the application of paint—sometimes applied directly from the tube, others modeled delicately by brush. In their creation, the paintings, as with the videos, are stages for intricate and complex performances.
Meisenberg’s videos and paintings are sites in which constellations of energies coalesce to make vibrant wholes, inviting the viewer to bask in their continual, generous afterglow. It is within this spectral field that Meisenberg’s work opens the possibility for profound, visual thinking: a mode of communication composed equally of bodily and optical experiences. His art exists in the moment of affect: the liminal space between vision and language, vision and feeling.
Kamin, Diana, “Florian Meisenberg,” Art in America, October 2013 (pdf)
Halpern, Clara, “Florian Meisenberg,” Modern Painters, September 2013 (pdf)
Past press: Berlin Art Journal, Time Out London, Aesthetica Magazine, MOCO: Art, Opening Ceremony, FlashArt (pdf)