Frances Scholz

Galerie Monika Sprüth

Frances Scholz’s recent show consisted of six large, nonobjective paintings in acrylic on canvas. The paintings were coloristically suggestive, with muted greens placed against luminous pinks and yellows, and their expansive surfaces contained narrow stripes running horizontally and vertically. Some of the larger areas of color were applied in translucent layers, creating where they overlap new shades, as well as an illusion of depth that is disrupted by the more opaque areas.

At the beginning of her artistic career Scholz was fascinated by cinema—in fact, she had aspired to become a filmmaker—and she remains interested in film. In addition to reproductions of her paintings, she often incorporates film stills into her catalogues. At first glance these stills stand in stark contrast to her abstract paintings, yet the paintings more strongly evoke flickering images torn from cinema than they resemble abstractions familiar to us from the history of European and American Modernist painting. Scholz has in particular been influenced by the work of those American abstractionists who banished spatial illusion from the picture plane by applying color directly and flatly to the painting surface, with the aim of achieving a timeless absolute that would render all further paintings superfluous.

Drawn by the inherent mutability of cinema, Scholz creates abstractions that are as fleeting as cinematic images, images that flicker briefly before us only to vanish with equal rapidity. Her paintings create an illusion of both subtle movement and light and shadow. First conceived as representations of light-filled spaces, the colored surfaces in her work have gradually grown more and more independent of their original subject until reaching a point where they suggest motion as much as light. Her work moves beyond the reductiveness of Modernist abstraction—her shifting picture planes, shimmering sensations of light, faint shadow, and translucent surfaces urgently evoking the changeability that she so admires in film.

Noemi Smolik

Translated from the German by David Jacobson.