Critics’ Picks

Friederike Feldmann, PS 4, 2011, pigmented ink on blanched canvas, 78 3/4 x 59”.


Friederike Feldmann

Galerie Barbara Weiss
Kohlfurter Strasse 41/43
September 9–November 12

Friederike Feldmann approaches painting from a reflective outside perspective—always from new angles—and translates the results of her analytic gaze into an independent formal language. She focuses especially on the core aspects of painting such as gesture, texture, and representation. In the series “Ten Years After,” 2004–2006, pastel paintings evoke the texture and patterns of Oriental rugs, seemingly worn in spots by traces of time. Nearby are newer works that are also minimal, comprising spontaneously executed, rhythmically dense tangles of lines, as with Cyan Magenta Yellow 7, 2007. On closer inspection, this work’s informal gesture proves to be constructed: a pattern of identically curling, superimposed lines that Feldmann applied in meticulous detail with the aid of a projected image. The character of the exuberant lines in Feldmann’s images are never what they appear to be; the specific differences between one’s first and second impressions of the image add tension to the works.

In the exhibition “Die Autorin” (The Authoress), Feldmann has opened a new theme closely tied to her earlier works. She has covered both large canvases and small sheets of paper with lines that gesture at fluid handwriting. They suggest the written word, but remain irritatingly just beyond legibility. On large-scale canvases such as PS 7, PS 4, and PS 9 (all 2011), her cryptic scribbles work perfectly and with just the right flair. With these cursive images, Feldmann navigates the boundary between painting and writing—and unveils calligraphically masterful paintings that suggest the written word.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.