Vielmetter Los Angeles is pleased to present Sehnsucht, the gallery’s first exhibition with New York-based painter Ross Bleckner. This exhibition of recent paintings also marks the artist’s first solo show in Los Angeles in over 25 years.
On view is a selection of paintings comprised of an array of symbolic imagery, such as flowers, ghostly figures, anatomical moments, and abstract landscapes. Ethereal and hallucinatory, the compositions blend abstraction with realism, as Bleckner’s visual iconography shifts in and out of focus, offering radiant passageways of hope within an ethos of transformation. Bright colors rendered with a blurred, glowing sense of light fade into the artist’s signature depths of impossible darkness — the masterfully executed paintings express a multitude of emotions and conditions such as anxiety and loss, while also proposing a quest for more; that which may be beyond suffering. The title of the exhibition — Sehnsucht — a German compound word, originating from an ardent longing (das Sehnen) and addiction (die Sucht) is used here to describe that yearning for an ideal.
Over the last fifty years, Bleckner has chronicled his own continual search for truth and beauty through an ever-suggestive language of variety and vision — as if painting his contemplative awareness of time, our collective societal transitions, and the fragilities of existence. Bleckner’s paintings can often be seen as depictions of consciousness itself mutating, as a means of exploring the terrain(s) between the body, perception, and transcendence. Employing a wide range of expressiveness and painterly tropes Bleckner's immersive paintings seamlessly marry the metaphysical with the world of appearances, the inside with the outside, and the somber with the sensual.
Ross Bleckner was born in 1949 in New York City and grew up in Hewlett, NY. He received a Bachelor of Arts from New York University in 1971, a Master of Fine Arts from Cal Arts in 1973, and he has taught at many of the nation’s most prestigious universities. Bleckner has exhibited his work at such venues as the ICA Philadelphia, Kunsthalle Zurich, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Luzern. His first solo museum exhibition was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1988, and in 1995, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York held a mid-career retrospective of his work, at the age of 45. He has been represented in many group exhibitions internationally, as well as in the Whitney Biennial (1975, 1987, 1989), the Sydney Biennale (1988), and the Carnegie International (1988). Recent exhibitions include Architecture of the Sky at the Bohme Chapel, Cologne, Paralipsis, at Maruani Mercier Gallery, Brussels, and Ross Bleckner at the Palais Schonborn-Batthyany, Vienna. His works are held in public collections throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; MoCA, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London; the Astrup Fearnley Collection, Oslo, Norway; Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Bleckner lives and works in New York.