Albert Oehlen's subject matter
From pixelated "computer paintings" to appropriated signage Albert Oehlen paintings explode off the canvas and seem to reveal what our brains might look like after a little time surfing the web. In his commencement speech at the School of the Art Institute he said the
From my point of view freedom is the only really interesting (or relevant) topic of art. Of course you can all do whatever you want, but freedom is my subject matter. You can deal with the color red, with skulls, with TV or your own identity or the identity of others. But if you want it to be worth anything, the results should be different, to the extent that they come from an artist, whose privilege it is to be granted absolute freedom in the execution. Which means we are technicians of freedom.Roberta Smith writes for the NY Times
It makes sense that Mr. Gioni emphasizes the word “excess” in the catalog. Mr. Oehlen’s paintings are overfull of the act of painting: of successive formal decisions; of different colors applied with brushes of various widths at different speeds; of digital images found or invented, manipulated and combined, and printed by sundry means.
His painting process represents uninhibited freedom in a way that is rare today because it is both extreme and self-contained, kept within the bounds of painting, which may be the perfect place for it.
|Albert Oehlen, Born to Be Late, inkjet print and mixed media on canvas, 2001|
|Albert Oehlen, Captain Jack (1997), silk-screen and oil on canvas.|
|Albert Oehlen, New Museum Installation|