Michelle Grabner, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe

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Untitled, 2010 Flash On Black Gesso 152 Cm Diameter © Mike Sinclair
Pynchon, 2008 Oil On Linen 169 X 64 Cm
Michelle Grabner, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe

Malzgasse 20
4052 Basel
August 27th, 2010 - October 16th, 2010
Opening: August 27th, 2010 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

+41 61 271 7183
Wed. - Fri. 13:00 - 18:00; Sat. 11:00 - 16:00 and by appointment



AUGUST 27 – OCTOBER 16, 2010

Opening Thursday, August 26th, 5:00 – 8:00 PM in the presence of the artists


For the Zurich Galleries’ 2010 Season Opening, Anne Mosseri-Marlio is very proud to present paintings and works on paper by Michelle Grabner and Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe. Both artists are obsessed with lines and strokes.  Their painting styles, shapes and palettes are completely different yet their diligence, meticulous application and research have parallels.  The in-depth passion for and knowledge of art, art history, as well as inspirational sources are palpable in their work.  In addition to being artists, Michelle Grabner and Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe write art criticism and are chair at two of the most respected university programs in the United States. Although they have exhibited in the United States and Europe this is their first two-person show. They will be present at the opening.


Michelle Grabner (US, 1962) investigates the abstraction of patterns taken from objects of daily life and their changes through repetition.  As an artist, she is best known for her paintings with metal point and flash.  For this exhibit, she presents a new series of silver point works on canvas and paper.  The repeated lines allow shades of color to materialize.  The dexterity of the stroke and its precise placement and closeness to the next one creates a 3-dimentional effect that requires the viewer’s visual concentration to ascertain the source of light and plane.


Flapjack refers to the mid-western term for pancakes (versus the English square baked oat cake). Grabner’s round paintings are a series of dots of different sizes and density. Time affects everything – patience, color, fluidity, alertness, and discovery.  The intensity of the dots is related to the process, as is their positioning and perceived depth. Her canvas size (max 203 cm / 80 in.) is limited to her reach but the variety of sizes allows for intense or playful installations and illusions without the controlled calculations present in Op Art. Her language is constant, varied, and never tedious.


Michelle Grabner is Professor and Chair of the Department of Painting and Drawing at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her works are in the collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg and the Daimler Collection, Berlin.  She and fellow artist Brad Killam run The Poor Farm (Manawa, Wisconsin) and the independent artist space The Suburban
(Oak Park, Illinois) that was featured in Tate Modern’s 10 year anniversary exhibit No Soul For Sale.


Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe (UK, 1945) wants to make complexity visible. This position is the origin of the systemic and geometric formulas of his recent, vertically orientated, paintings. In these colorful and dynamic works, Gilbert-Rolfe creates tension between line and surface. Gilbert-Rolfe describes his process: “It allows for a sequence with the colour with which it starts, which gives one the primary colours in five groups of which each begins with the second colour in the previous group, interspersed with four black (or, less often, whites or greys). The purpose of that sequence originally was to put everything drawing does into a margin so as to leave most of the surface for colour.” Two of the paintings in the show are from a group of ten paintings made at the beginning of the decade which are all virtually the same size— 66 1⁄2” (169 cm) tall, his wife’s height— but all painted very differently.


Gilbert-Rolfe says he is now primarily interested in the involuntary, a logical consequence of the parallel development of his painting and his theory.  In Beauty and the Contemporary Sublime (1999) he directly addressed what he regarded as philosophy’s, art history’s and art criticism’s ubiquitous fear of beauty, relating it to his view of the contemporary art world’s preference for art which does not appeal to the senses. Through his painting practice, he is interested in emphasizing the visual experience over his works’ philosophical or historical roots.


Gilbert-Rolfe’s paintings are in several public collections, including the Albright-Knox Gallery of Art, Buffalo, NY; the Getty Study Center, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, as well as private and corporate collections. He is Professor and Chair of the Graduate Art Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.  He has been awarded National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in both painting and criticism, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (in painting,) a Francis Greenberger Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and the College Art Association’s Mather Award (for art and architectural criticism).


For further information please contact the gallery at +41 43 243 0380 or

Tuesday – Friday 12 – 6 PM, Saturday 11 AM – 4 PM           Bleicherweg 33, 8002 Zurich