london

Ellen Gronemeyer, Liebe Liese (Dear Liese), 2015, oil on canvas, 62 1/2 × 47 1/4".

Ellen Gronemeyer

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Ellen Gronemeyer, Liebe Liese (Dear Liese), 2015, oil on canvas, 62 1/2 × 47 1/4".

Keine Minute Ruhe” (Not a Moment’s Rest) was the title of Ellen Gronemeyer’s recent solo exhibition, and it served as an apt description of any encounter with her paintings. Reminiscent in style of both James Ensor and Jean Dubuffet, the twelve richly encrusted figurative paintings in this show, with a predominantly black palette, possessed a cloying charm.

For example, Liebe Liese (Dear Liese; all works 2015) one of the larger pieces, shows two roundheaded, porcelain-faced children, seated with their arms bent around their legs; depicted in a cartoonlike manner, they fit snugly into the picture plane. With bold, black outlines and round, doll-like eyes, the cute Nara-esque imagery seems at odds with the work’s abject paint quality. It is full of splatter and congealed, scabby pigment, as if Gronemeyer had used the canvas to clean her brushes. In fact, Liebe Liese is more like a

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