Gallery 1261, May 28-June 20
This story was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art June 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Two landscape artists united in their excellence but differing in their geographic locales, styles, and approaches are at the center of Gallery 1261’s latest show, entitled Under the Same Sun: Colorado & Russia. The show, featuring the works of David Grossmann and Ulrich Gleiter, opens with an artists’ reception on Thursday, May 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. “Ulrich and David juxtapose each other beautifully,” says curator Quang Ho. “David is about perfect order of values and colors and deliberate orchestration of elements to create a mood; Ulrich is about paint, expression, and allowing the painting to organically become alive on its own.”
Colorado-based Grossmann is presenting his first major body of work at Gallery 1261 with around a dozen studio paintings. “He is a poet with his use of tones and colors,” says Ho. “His paintings go beyond the subject matter and become something of an abstract statement about the beauty of simple elements coming together.”
Grossmann grew up in Chile, received European academic-style teaching at the Colorado Academy of Art, and brings a sense of simplicity and balance to his landscapes that is akin to Japanese haiku. In CATHEDRAL GROVE, he captures the feeling of standing in a silent stand of trees during autumn. “There is a sacredness, a searching, and a connection that I feel when I am in such places. As I painted the light shining through the colorful leaves I thought of stained glass, illuminated and glowing, like cathedral windows,” he observes.
AMONG THE FALLEN LEAVES depicts a similar scene, though with the addition of deer, which to the artist represent “the mystery and the silence of the forest,” he says. “This painting was challenging and exciting to work on because it involved filling so much space by layering hundreds of dots to give the feeling of fallen leaves.” These works are more experimental than his previous creations. “I have been giving myself more freedom in my compositions and in my technique.… I want viewers to be able to imagine, to feel the mystery and wonder that I feel when I am wandering through nature,” he says.
Nature’s mystical quality is also at the heart of Gleiter’s paintings—of which he’ll show 20 to 25—though he arrives at the feeling differently. “Ulrich’s work is all about paint,” Ho observes. “In his work is an evident passion for exploring paint and the expression that arrives from balancing skill and intuition.”
Gleiter divides his time between his native Germany and St. Petersburg, Russia, where he trained in the Russian painting tradition at the Russian Academy of Arts. Recent political changes in Europe have inspired a new appreciation of the landscape for the artist. “It helped me understand how timeless nature is, as opposed to what is man-made—that comes and goes. To be able to see that in landscapes has been a huge gift for me. [My] subject matter may not have changed, but I feel that my motivation in painting has become more mature,” he says.
This newfound approach plays out in paintings such as BRIGHT SUMMER DAY, which captures the evening light, wildflowers, and trees of a scene in the Russian Urals, where the artist recalls the fields smelling of straw-berries. In WINDY DAY, Gleiter portrays the forces of nature at work—and timeless and transformative beauty. —Ashley M. Biggers
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