Critics’ Picks

Robert Muntean, Storm, 2016, oil on canvas, 95 x 79".

Robert Muntean, Storm, 2016, oil on canvas, 95 x 79".


Robert Muntean

Galerie Crone | Berlin
Fasanenstraße 29
October 15–November 12, 2016

One of the works in Robert Muntean’s exhibition “Sonic Wave” is titled Disappearer (all works cited, 2016). It can hardly be a coincidence that a song by Sonic Youth has the same title; the artist has frequently referred to music throughout his work. For him, the dissonance and consonance in the composition and the tonalities of color in a painting are important.

The figures in Muntean’s oil-on-canvas works often look like they are about to appear or disappear due to the layering of abstract gestures and fields of color. Across their surfaces, incorporating different types of mark-making, there are gradations between loud, dense, quiet, and subtle parts. Empty white spaces are also important in this show. In a piece such as Storm, there is expressive anger but also grace and containment.

Over the years, the artist has proven himself to be a cautious constructor of paintings, balancing contradicting forces and moods within a composition. Most convincing in this show are eight life-size works, including Disko and Stage, in which the figure is almost but not fully abstracted, as if it were a hidden agent organizing the images and giving them urgency and coherence.