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Olav Christopher Jenssen – THE PROTAGONIST/NEW YORK EDITION

Tracy Williams, Ltd.
521 West 23rd Street, 212-229-2757
Chelsea
March 11 - April 30, 2011
Reception: Friday, March 11, 6 - 8 PM
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Tracy Williams, Ltd is pleased to announce THE PROTAGONIST/NEW YORK EDITION, Olav Christopher Jenssen’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. In his most recent work, the Berlin-based Norwegian artist explores the paradoxical qualities of spontaneity and restraint, producing series of paintings that are simultaneously deliberate and whimsical.

Widely celebrated in Europe for his consistently innovative and energetic style, Jenssen reveals a fresh interest in formalism with three new series: The Protagonist, Panorama, and The Bretagne.

Titles such as Panorama/Preface, Panorama/Recognition, and Panorama/Solution as well as the numerical suffixes of the works in The Protagonist and The Bretagne allude to a serial process of cognition, reflecting Jenssen’s process of simultaneously working on multiple canvases and allowing the series to develop in tandem.

Though shifting away from the fluid, organic forms of earlier series such as Palindrome and Appendix Painting, this new body of work retains references to Jenssen’s preoccupations with the comingling of mental and material landscapes.

In both The Protagonist and Panorama, Jenssen employs a hard-edged masking technique to juxtapose blocks and bands of playful tertiary colors, layering polygonal templates that echo and mutate from canvas to canvas. His signature fluorescent pinks and grassy greens are flattened but not neutralized, and arranged in architectural stacks that invite imaginative interpretation.

The Bretagne features similar techniques with an understated monochromatic palette. A gentle sawtooth motif softens the austere meetings of black and white, creating a halo-like effect, as if the canvas emanates light from within.

Traces of Minimalism and Suprematism appear in this new body of work, though Jenssen assertively offers his own reading of the history of painting. Driven by curiosity, acute intuition, and a steadfast passion for painting, Olav Christopher Jenssen exemplifies a contemporary painter who is informed but unhindered by his antecedents.

Olav Christopher Jenssen (b. 1954, Norway) lives and works in Berlin, Germany, and Lya, Sweden. His work has been collected by Museum of Modern Art, New York, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris, among others. He is a professor of painting at Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg. His extensive exhibition history throughout Europe includes Documenta IX, in 1992, as well as numerous major museum exhibitions, most recently at Nasjonalmuseet Oslo, Moderna Museet Stockholm, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art Helsinki, and Västerås Konstmuseum.

Special thanks to the Royal Norwegian Consulate General for the generous support of this exhibition.

For inquiries, please contact the gallery at 212.229.2757 Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6 pm

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