Celestial Order and Hysterical Flourishes: Hansjoerg Dobliar at Vogt
Hansjoerg Dobliar: “Hysterie und Abstraktion”
May 3 to June 15, 2013
Johannes Vogt Gallery
526 West 26th Street, Suite 205
New York City, 212-255-2671
Hallucinatory trails haunt a dense inky field of midnight blue as some blunt tool is dragged across a wet expanse of lacquer. Concentric circles double as sunspots while refracted light strains through knifed-on swathes of lush color. Within moments of viewing Hansjoerg Dobliar’s first solo endeavor at Vogt, the show’s title, “Hysterie und Abstraktion” (Hysteria and Abstraction) makes good on its claim.
Sometimes the brush is cast aside and Dobliar draws straight onto the surface with the paint tube. Raised circles of pigment are frequent evidence that the transference of paint to surface, at times, needs to occur unmediated. The repeated circular forms that hover within the painted field begin to suggest a perfect celestial order that belies and betrays the hysterical flourishes and resplendent Day Glo combinations which charge Dobliar’s abstractions. The frenetic movement and charged color contained within the intimate rectangle of these modestly-scaled works, and the forms which emerge from the ensuing chaos, crystallize under the pressure exerted upon them by the canvases’ edges.
Distorted Flower VII (2013) displays its expressive quadrate lobes. Indeed, it is as if this painting’s polychrome labia have given birth to the suite of small square target paintings hung nearby: each of these small compositions is oriented toward a central bull’s eye. Within a matrix of lobes and petals, spheres and phantasms haunt the scrawled and abraded canvas. Deep ultramarine blue, flesh tones, a sudden flicker of chartreuse, in tandem with drawn mark and smeared or scraped passages, begrudgingly unify.
In Untitled (2012) the folds of a striped circus tent are pulled aside to reveal the howling mouths of a thousand crazed clowns. Just beyond the “tent”, decadence and jubilee unfurl from abstract forms in golden yellow, magenta and quinacridone red. The clamor of searing hue and jagged geometry is tempered and pressed in upon by the sagging navy folds which dominate the upper third of the canvas. A strong central image recurs in Circus II (tête de femme) (2012) in which a diamond form dominates the shallow space of the canvas. The geometries in Dobliar’s work are precarious: triangles, diamonds and rhomboids become animate as they careen through space. The tent form is both spectacle and shelter.
Dobliar begins each painting with a dirty brush which he moves from one canvas to the next. Evidence of this base materiality is seen in Tête (2013) the most open and air filled composition on view. The quartered canvas evokes Alexej von Jawlensky’s “T-faced” portraits from the 20’s and 30’s. The edges of the painting are stained maroon, yellow and grey green while cylinders (cigarettes, reeds, a pan pipe) radiate from the paintings center. Five discrete forms are placed within the grid like totemic objects or indecipherable occult symbols.
In the rear gallery an array of small works on aluminum are hung against Dobliar’s custom-made wallpaper. Lopsided triangles in a murky blue tumble about through strange shimmering fields. Diffuse permutations of rose, lavender and mauve are pierced through by myriad shades of gold. The lighting has a German Expressionist quality, and the point of departure for the wallpaper was in fact a photograph of an opera backdrop designed by Kirchner.
While Dobliar’s paintings make striking use of speed and movement as their medium – an underlying order is present just below the expressionist surfaces of his work. With color, geometry and surface colliding and, at times, vying for attention, each element threatening to supersede the other – there is such a wealth of personally symbolic forms and formal rigor in this work to make one realize that there is much more to them than slapdash and quick thrills.