La Vache Qui Rit (The Laughing Cow), 2018
Acrylic and charcoal on linen
80 x 70 inches
[from the pressrelease]
Over the past three decades Charline von Heyl has made paintings that upend conventional assumptions about composition, beauty, narrative, design, and artistic subjectivity. The new paintings in this, von Heyl’s ninth solo show at Petzel, are composed inventions that function as self-perpetuating visual events; enigmatic presences silently seducing and disturbing the viewer.
Von Heyl’s new paintings shake loose work against language and capture time through dense compositions replete with moody rhythms of color and shape. A number of her effects can unexpectedly dazzle a viewer’s perceptions. The repositioning of one’s body opposite a painting reveals in cross-raked light interference colors that shift in value from pink to green and from yellow to violet.
In some cases, paint may bleed through the linen’s verso; in others, shapes are imprisoned under a layer of color as ghost images. Some works, devoid of color, are able to re-energize through stark black graphics. A painting can often begin with a meandering line that loops and snaps into a biomorphic checkerboard. Various images, such as moths, rabbits, heads, and faces have been deceivingly painted as if placed on the surface as a second thought. These sequences unfold slowly while the painting is viewed—overlapping, dissolving, or blending to produce an image that stands for itself as fact.