The Failure of Rational Thought, New Paintings by Christian Rieben
Rieben constructs an uncanny logic of place and time in his brooding landscapes. The viewer is lured in – an avatar in a grim war or humorous game – and implicated in the narrative. In an unabashed act of picture making, Rieben negotiates abstraction, semiotics and representation.
Forms serve, and serve as, content in Rieben’s elastic handling of paint. He erects a pyramid from a hundred blunt strokes, laying bricks of a hundred nuanced hues. Longing translates into a cavern of littered statuary. Lighthouses ejaculate saturated prismatics. Heroic and fantastical figures are sponged out from robust, waxy blacks – analogue taking on RPGs with the swipe of a turp-soaked rag. In the end, Rieben’s canvases are both windows and objects whose graphic explosions record and reveal their own making.
Rieben received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006. He has exhibited in Berlin, Belgrade and Rome. Chicago exhibits include the Gahlberg Gallery, Gallery Uno, Bucket Rider Gallery and Lloyd Dobler Gallery. He currently teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, College of DuPage and Loyola University.