From May 2 to June 20, 2009, Berlin Art Projects proudly presents the exhibition “Abstract Worlds” by the American Action painter Sam Francis (1923-1994) and the young Berlin painter Christian Awe. The exhibition opens Saturday, May 2, 2009 from 12 to 9 p.m. at Auguststrasse 50 b in the presence of Christian Awe.
“Abstract Worlds” – Sam Francis’ and Christian Awe’s works are best described as dynamic picture worlds of glowing color. Both artists play with the gestural motif; their works are intensive and expressive and give the impression of living, breathing surface.
For SAM FRANCIS, color and space are the most important factor in the work. Known for his highly personalized form of drip painting, the artist applies varying sizes of paint drips in swinging, splashy movements on a painted background that mixes into sprays, drops and relief-like color, mixed with acrylic and oil. Considered one of the most important Action painters, he was also highly interested in developing various techniques using printing processes. Paper and smaller canvas works will also be on view in the exhibition. “Grid Paintings”, acrylic on paper from the 1970s – a work in which Francis has covered the image surface with a net-like grid structure, will be seen alongside experimental lithograph works from the 1980s. Characteristic for Francis’ works is the white image background, the spot and line light and transparent, almost like a drawing, pulling the color clearly and powerfully to the fore.
In the works by CHRISTIAN AWE, color and a gestural style of painting play a crucial role. Here, Awe develops his own pictorial language by combining influences from graffiti and street art with classical painting. The gallery presents his newest works from the series “Underground Paintings”. With a paintbrush, acrylic and spray paint on PVC and canvas, the artist creates emotionally-charged, atmospheric color landscapes. The works are characterized by an enormous luminosity, intensive color contrast and multiple layers. Using overlapping, sprayed characters and markers, meticulously scratched-away relief and carefully blocked-out open areas, Awe creates differentiated surface structures. Straight lines meet impulse and a sharp etching tool allows the finest color nuances and hidden layers to reveal themselves on the surface, allowing an interplay to develop. Awe’s “Underground Paintings” captivate with a balanced combination of bold lines, forms and colors and radiate an energy-loaded lightness. Titles such as “Jazzybelle”, “Ocean Games”, “Meeting Freedom” and “Das gute Leben (The Good Life)” allow a glimpse into the artist’s mind and conjure powerful associations with nature and music, hip-hop jazz and ornament.
Awe’s soulful works, as well as his spontaneous and direct way of painting, recall the direct, spontaneous relationship between Abstract Expressionism and Action Painting as exemplified in the works of Sam Francis. Both artists employ a symbolic-associative language of forms, emphasize color, paint and space and share a joy of experimentation with materials and techniques. The abstract compositions and balanced rhythm lend the works their lyrical beauty. They are emotional picture worlds full of the direct joy of life, inviting the viewer to sink into them and give their own associations full freedom.
Sam Francis (*1923 San Mateo,California) studied Botany, Medicine and Psychology before beginning his studies in Art and Art History. Since his first solo exhibition in Paris in 1952, his works have been shown in countless exhibitions worldwide; he participated in the 5. São Paulo Biennial, documenta II and III as well as the 32. Venice Biennial. After traveling to Mexico, Thailand, India and Japan and living in Paris, New York, Bern and Tokyo, the artist settled in Santa Monica, where he died in 1994.
Christian Awe (*1978 Berlin) studied at the Universität der Künste Berlin under Georg Baselitz and Daniel Richter and graduated as a “Meisterschüler”. His works are and have been shown in numerous exhibitions in Germany and around the world; in addition to this, he also curates exhibitions with young artists.