Basel

Helmut Federle, Untitled (No Bild) (No Picture), 1986, acrylic on canvas, 8' 9 1⁄8“ × 12' 5 5⁄8”.

Helmut Federle, Untitled (No Bild) (No Picture), 1986, acrylic on canvas, 8' 9 1⁄8“ × 12' 5 5⁄8”.

Helmut Federle

Kunstmuseum Basel

A sense of balance pervades Helmut Federle’s painting: a masterful push and pull of opposing pictorial means that demands our attention from the outset without ever fully gratifying it. The artist’s large canvases are marked by the precision of objective geometrical forms that he infuses with the subjectivity of his tender gestural brushstroke and the absorptive quality of his diluted and mixed color. Take, for instance, Untitled (No Bild) (No Picture), 1986, in which the hard edges of six black rectangles on a yellow-green ground contrast with the gentle, washed quality of the paint. The ostensible clarity of the composition is undone by the yellow-green of the ground filtering through the grayish-black forms. Similarly, but with inverted colors, Untitled, 1980, features two yellow rectangular forms pushed to the edges of the canvas by a grayish-black field. Here, the geometry is supported

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