Critics’ Picks

Marc Brandenburg, Untitled, 2009, pencil on paper, 26 x 18”.

Marc Brandenburg, Untitled, 2009, pencil on paper, 26 x 18”.


Marc Brandenburg

Contemporary Fine Arts Galerie (CFA)
Grolmanstrasse 32/33
March 13–April 24, 2010

“Bonkers” is a deceptive title for Marc Brandenburg’s latest exhibition. The Berlin-based artist’s meticulous graphite drawings of gurgling foundations, morbid imagery, and rock stars (including a stunning portrayal of Michael Jackson) might be chaotic, even maniacal, but his technique is sane and sobering. Brandenburg’s renderings of water, skulls, editorial photographs, and his own snapshots of friends, acquaintances, and random street scenes are sensitive and penetrating. Many of his drawings are made from photographic negatives, so that black and white are reversed, which creates a disarming ghostly effect. One untitled series initially appears to depict abstract waves but on closer inspection reveals skulls embedded in the soft patterns. In the small front gallery, three drawings of bubbling water from fountains are accompanied by a dreamy, soothing experimental sound track by Moritz von Oswald and Max Loderbauer. Like the work of Banks Violette, an artist with similar style, technique, interests, and palette, these pieces may appear cold on first glance, but they are subtly haunting. Here, Brandenburg effectively creates a space for calm and contemplation while his work confronts life’s maddening messiness.