Susanne Vielmetter is pleased to announce Claw Hammer, the gallery’s third solo exhibition with New York based painter Elizabeth Neel. The gallery will be presenting large-scale paintings and works on paper in which Neel mines the tensions between gesture, process and material exploration as they relate to the legacy of modernist abstraction.
Claw Hammer takes its title from a tool meant to drive nails into, or extract nails from, a surface. It evolved over millennia from a simple stone to a more sophisticated steel device that both mimics and abstracts a physical augmentation common in the animal world, the claw or talon.
Working on large swaths of raw canvas, Neel masks, spills, brushes and rolls paint, creating layered allusions to architecture and the body. Her lexicon of marks documents the pictorial choreography between containment and breach of form that is a hallmark of gestural picture making. Neel’s explosive interventions are paired with moments of bilateral symmetry, made by folding the paint-covered canvas. The resulting graphic sequences evoke both physical structures and psychological systems implied by formal relationships to the Rorschach Test. Her palette of earth browns, vegetal greens, deep blues, royal purples and rich reds evoke bodily fluids and technological phenomena alike. Erosion, abrasion and printing are all metaphorically employed in Neel’s alchemical working process to allude to future worlds as well as ancient ones. References to pre-historic fossils co-exist alongside toxically luscious spills and seepages and in this way Neel hints at the body’s historical limitations and our own possible future extinction.
Elizabeth Neel graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in 2007. Recent museum and institutional exhibitions include The Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY, the Prague Biennial 5, Prague, Czech Republic; “Modern Talking” at the Cluj Museum, Cluj, Romania; “Living with Art” at The Neuberger Museum, Purchase College, Purchase, NY; and “Abstract America” at the Saatchi Gallery, London, UK among others. Neel’s work has been featured in exhibitions internationally including Pilar Corrias, London, UK; Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York, NY; Monica De Cardenas, Milan, IT; Deitch Projects, New York, NY. Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Neel is currently featured in the newest edition of “Vitamin P: New Perspectives on Painting”, Phaidon, 2016.