Solid As A Rock
February 25, 2006
For his first solo show in New York, German artist Bendix Harms has created a high-spirited body of large-scale paintings, full of enjoyment, anticipation, and melancholy, which will be exhibited at Anton Kern Gallery from January 19 through February 25, 2006.
Straightforwardly enough, the show is centered around a painting of a bearded man’s face—sensual lips, eyes of gentle sadness—with the show’s title “Solid As A Rock” inscribed on his fluffy white beard. The painting does, in fact, set up all motifs, moods and important life-questions of Harms’ work: love, grief, yearning, and a pointed zest for life. The brushstroke is loose and coarse, the oil paint applied in broad, swift movements, the palette reduced to blues and blacks accentuated with white over-paint. Words are integrated into the composition—all with a decisive disinterest in verisimilitude in favor of spirited emotional communication.
Bendix fittingly comments on his mode of painting stating, “[…] I love artists’ late works—when they display a completely free style because it no longer matters whether their work will earn them applause or a rap over the knuckles. They’re beyond all concepts. And I love artists who anticipate their late work.”
Harms’s paintings depict moments of emotional attention, a man mourning over a dead bird, two owls cuddling in the night sky, a man and his dog gazing at an aircraft that flies into the setting sun. With heartfelt care and thought, Harms creates a provocatively trusting view of the world and of human nature.