TRANSformal, Pharmaka, Los Angeles, CA



Works by Leo Hurzlmeir, Richard Schur & Brent Hallard (l to r)

March 12 – May 2, 2009

Exhibiting artists: Kasarian Dane, Stephan Fritsch, Brent Hallard, Leo Hurzlmeir, Robin McDonnell, Mel Prest, Richard Schur, Nancy White, John Zurier 

Pharmaka is pleased to present “TRANS:formal” the Los Angeles manifestation in a series of traveling shows by nine artists from Germany, Japan and the United States who are all engaged in a dialogue about Abstraction in painting.

Working both internationally and in a variety of approaches to Abstraction, the artists have created this show as a dialogue between themselves and as a means to engage the viewer in this conversation.

The show poses questions of cultural/aesthetic difference as well as the ways that the works align formally and conceptually. This convergence of approach and locale creates a dynamic, timely exhibition.

Begun as a conversation between an artist living in Munich and another in San Francisco, this dialogue has evolved into a show of nine artists. Three of the artists live in Munich, Germany, one lives in Tokyo, Japan, four live in the San Francisco bay area, one in upstate New York.

The show first opened in Munich, Germany as TRANS: Abstraktion at Weltraum gallery in November 2007, and in November 2009 it will travel to San Francisco to the Meridian Gallery. Each show will have new work by each of the artists thus keeping a fresh and ongoing dialogue. The show provides a location for the artists to come together and converse. Many of the artists will be engaging in the artists talk at Pharmaka on March 14.

Each of the artists work with optically engaging abstraction whose roots lie in different twentieth century trajectories, yet the work is very much of the twenty first century with its awareness of history as well as the conceptual concerns and aesthetics of contemporary painting.

Kasarian Dane uses highly colorful hard-edge painting to push a perception of the reductive. His vertical strips of color jerk and cajole the edges of the eye. In an elegantly calibrated and vibrant space, it appears nothing else is there: nothing else is needed. Born 1972 in Duluth, Minnesota; lives in upstate New York.

Stephan Fritsch is equally at home on and off the canvas. Referencing aspects of gestural painting, graffiti and architecture, he builds complex canvases and installations. His color instances, discovered in daily encounters, mingle with brushstrokes and create images that evoke unexpected and fresh associations. Born 1962 in Stuttgart, Germany; lives in Munich.

Brent Hallard’s work is full of contradictions: quirky and conventional, jarring and elegant, humorous and refined. Using plastics, vinyl, aluminum, painted tape and templates, he often imbues a singular minimalist shape with multi-possibilities, pushing a perceptual vision into a realm of irreconcilable illusion. Born in 1962 in Sydney, Australia; lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Leo Hurzlmeir’s paintings move between motifs of abstraction to figuration and narrative and are engaged in the materiality of paint itself. Within this realm of play, his work undergoes a highly personal process of abstraction that is always left open to associative readings. Born 1983 in Starnberg, Germany; lives in Munich

Robin McDonnell uses an abstract ‘process’ driven language to create a complex field of activity in her paintings. The intention is to create an opticality that is both engaging and immersive to the viewer without providing resolutions or answers, thus creating an open ended visual experience. Born 1955 in New York, NY; lives in Berkeley, California.

Mel Prest’s conceptual color drawings transform language into color and shape. With a systematic but open process, words derived from pop culture, the urban, and the everyday produce a precarious architectural space. In her paintings a dissonant palette of hand-painted lines evoke the optical effect of collapsing space creating perceptual puzzles. Born in 1969 in Saint Paul, Minnesota; lives in San Francisco, California.

Richard Schur combines rigorous visual enquiry with a knowing playfulness where amalgamations of marks break the dominance of the geometric. With a systematic and sensuous use of color, space in Schur’s paintings is both elusive and palpable.. Born 1971 in Munich, Germany; lives in Munich 

Nancy White orders geometric shapes with precision to intensify the instabilities of visual acuity. On hand pigmented grounds after-images emerge; forms can appear simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. Her frame paintings create an amplification of light and color. Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1947; lives in Redwood City, California.

John Zurier is highly attuned to and carefully considers the intrinsic characteristics of all his materials. His brushwork can be simultaneously expansive and restricted, formal and informal, lush and austere and always compels a closer, slower and longer look. In all his work an ethereal quality is evoked revealing the experience of seeing as something difficult and real. Born in Santa Monica, California in 1956; lives in Berkeley, California.