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Arnold Helbling, Building C

Von Lintel Gallery
520 West 23rd Street, 212-242-0599
October 16 - November 15, 2008
Reception: Thursday, October 16, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present Building C, an exhibition of new paintings by Arnold Helbling. In his latest body of work, Arnold Helbling takes his signature style of deconstructive, post-apocalyptic space and turns it on its head. The work is now additive. Helbling systematically builds information, not side-by-side or step-by-step, but somehow simultaneously, shifting from one reality to another, before taking it away, blocking it out with clouds of color or rigid squares of paint and paper. Time and space fade in and out and planes bleed into one another, building layers that are locked in space with no clear sense of chronology or vantage point.

Helbling’s subject matter remains the same: vast, ecstatically colorful and borderline hallucinatory environments constructed from a mix of abstract and recognizable images. Urban housing units and cityscapes hover in midair at varying stages of clarity and distortion, while abstract shapes and gestures, lines of different length, width and focus go whizzing by at varying depths and speeds. Now, however, the actual Xerox copy of a building, clipped from a newspaper, is physically glued to the painting’s canvas; sharp, crisp lines of paper are contrasted with rough, uneven edges of disassembled plastic bags stretched across the surface. Helbling’s translucent, but textured, silk-screens are also physically embedded in the paintings. These myriad bits of collage, alongside a brilliant palette of gestural and abstract shapes and unfinished line drawings of building interiors and exteriors, are preserved under layers of clear acrylic medium, creatin g a visual dichotomy of textured smoothness. Helbling plays with the viewer’s perception, inviting us to break through the unyielding surface of his paintings. The result is a slick, flat, two-dimensional veneer behind which lives an infinite, cosmic reality.

Arnold Helbling was born in Switzerland and currently lives and works in New York City. He has exhibited internationally throughout the last decade.
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