Andre Hemer: Making-image at Luis de Jesus

André Hemer at Luis De Jesus. Photo credit: Genie Davis.

Andre Hemer: Making-image

through February 10
Luis de Jesus, Los Angeles

By Genie Davis
With “Making-image”, now at Luis de Jesus gallery through February 10th, Andre Hemer creates rich, dimensional abstract images. Composed of multiple layers, the artist’s second solo show at the gallery is a vital dance of colors and textures seductively interwoven.

What seems at first look to be a final stage in these paintings, the luminous, often oddly-textured thick blobs of paint that dot and dart across the canvases, is actually Hemer’s first step in creating the works.

According to Hemer, “My starting point is the dimensional. Then I put the paint objects on a scanner. I work with the scanner on a rooftop against the sky. That sky is my background. In each of these works, the background is the sky at different parts of the day.”

Originally from New Zealand, the artist created these works during his recent residency at the International Studio & Curatorial Program in Brooklyn, New York. Working with his open scanner en plein air on the roof of his studio building has shaped work that is at once both recognizable and dream-like, filled with a sense of light and a haunting, not quite perceptible sense of place. Hemer is conducting personal, ongoing research into contemporary hybrid perception, and this exhibition is an evocative presentation of just what we perceive in terms of technique, image, and texture. There is a sense of gestation and promise in these works.

Hemer’s layered canvases are each created with a highly-layered technique in a unique and detailed process. The artist, takes his outdoor scanned work back into his studio, edits the scanned images, and moves forward with the next stage in his work.

“The sky image is then printed onto the canvas,” says the artist, “the paint layered on top of that canvas gets more opaque, as the scanned elements come in. The whole approach to my work is to take something physical, make it digital in form, and then make it physical again.”

Once the digital images are scanned onto the canvas which already holds the thick, almost-alive-looking paint blobs, he adds additional painted layers. He works in a variety of paint mediums, acrylics, oils, and spray paint. The result is very alive, deliciously distorted works that evoke stained glass, sunset skies, and broken bits of rainbows. His layers build into a series of amorphous images that seem to shift between and over and through the paint blobs that began the works.

The large-scale canvases each have a dreamy, unique color palette. In one, swirls of pale pink, yellow, gold, and brown remind the viewer of a sky just at the magic hour of sunset; in another, the aqua background tones dotted with splotches of orange, an iridescent silver, aqua, and red remind one of sunrise, and the colors of the sea. There are metallic and opalescent paint blobs, thickly applied in sweeping strokes, or congealing into bumpy dots like a sea creature or a strange, wet rock. Water-like patterns and shiny, melted black blobs that resemble tar or slices of volcanic rock turn up on some canvasses; on others the soft silvery folds of paint resemble a gestating creature or the inside of a seashell peeled free. The viewer wants to unravel these layers, define the images, but instead feels compelled into a vivid and mysterious world that is ultimately undefinable.

The title of the show, “Making image”, fits this technique — Hemer is indeed creating images that he has deconstructed and reconstructed into a multi-dimensional exploration of color and light. These are images both real and unreal, almost fathomable, and just out of reach.

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles


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