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Gabriel Vormstein, The (oII (OO) oI) -:

Casey Kaplan Gallery
525 West 21st Street, 212-645-7335
September 8 - October 7, 2006
Reception: Friday, September 8, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Known for his inventive use of non-traditional materials, Vormstein continues to work with newspaper sheets taken primarily from the Frankfurter Allegmeine Zeitung as the canvas for his watercolor and gouache paintings. The vibrantly-colored surfaces depict pictorial images of floral motifs, provocative female silhouettes, and geometric patterns, alongside text, abstract shapes, and Minimalist forms. Depicting figurative and abstract imagery alike, Vormstein uses simple gestures and everyday materials to create poetically melancholic pictures. Likewise, his weathered wall-based sculptures are made from everyday materials, including tree branches, wire, tape, twine, and old T-shirts.

With all the works in the exhibition, Vormstein illustrates a modern synthesis of various cultural and art historical references along with personal influences. The artist cites Arte Povera—an experimental approach to art begun in the late 1960s in Italy which uses `poor’ materials and a sparse aesthetic—the romanticism of the European Expressionists, such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, and the machinist aesthetic of Dada and the Surrealists as primary influences to create his own visual pastiche.

Culled from a variety of artistic and cultural sources, Vormstein contrasts the transitory nature of his materials with the potency and permanency of the artistic idea. As consistent with the fluid nature of the works, the title of the exhibition uses letters to represent the gallery’s architectural design, visually conceptualizing the evolving relationship between the artworks presented and the manner in which they are displayed. By mapping-out seemingly conflicting forms in an open and original framework, Vormstein encourages an active exchange between the exhibition space, the viewer, and the artwork.

With the physical world as a point of departure, Vormstein captures the feeling for the artistic process and materials as a means of examining the relationship between man, nature, and time. Conjuring a utopian world marked by traces of natural and human activity, the works in this exhibition fuse whimsical artistic forms with forms of nature to embody the dialectic between the natural and the human. Using different adapted symbols, materials, and styles, Vormstein subtly confronts the real world with fantasy and emotion.
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