Group Exhibition, “Red, Yellow and Blue”

Umeå, 9.11–10.17 2014

Cris Gianakos, Peter Hahne, Sean Scully

The group exhibition Red, Yellow and Blue features three important artists in abstract expressionism and minimalism. The approach to the canvas by Cris Gianakos, Peter Hahne and Sean Scully’s demonstrates a painterly affinity and kinship. They all share the lifelong relationship to geometric shapes and subtle nuances through color and form.

Peter Hahne from Malmö is, and always has been, true to his expression, where the half monochrome encounters elements from calligraphy, and rhythmic movement sets against a meditative calm. Even when the surface is perceived as controlled, it holds an inherent freedom.

“I have often been asked about how a painting becomes. As I understand it, it’s not that the question is about the actual craft, but rather on the content, the idea behind it. Thus, “what does it represent?” It’s a question that I in a sense can understand, but I also know that sometimes it is difficult to give a good and clear answer. Most often it is a long chain of thoughts and ideas. A kind of tentative work leading up to a the final paintingt.”

Hahne abstracts images out of memories and experiences. In his recent paintings, he has assumed photo memories from container handling in a port and from life at sea. The rows and columns of different colored steel boxes, which work like minimalist sculptures, functions as the inspiration for the paintings, with tight but vibrant color fields. Hahne describes his encounters with his motifs as spontaneous and emotionally driven reactions, not unlike the human experience of something sacred and holy.

Greek-American Cris Gianakos’ focuses on geometric shapes related to the urban landscape and the architecture around us, something that is easily detected in the peice “Signal I – V”. Trained at the School of Visual Arts, Gianakos claims that he is primarily self-taught. As early as in the 1960s he began to experiment with what still permeates his work today: simple geometric shapes applied to, but also abstracted from, the landscape and scenery he moves through. One of his most acclaimed installations was carried out in 1969, when Gianakos by using flour created a large cross on the asphalt in an intersection in Central Park. By letting cyclists and pedestrians who passed move the flour around, a shape appeared and made visible the every day randomness that is really nothing out of the ordinary.

In the late 1960s, during his college days, Irish Sean Scully abandoned figurative painting to devote himself to his great love, abstraction. Since then he has been exclusively exploring the art form and is today one of the world’s most influential abstract painters. Since 1975 he lives and works in New York. His imagery has elements of monumental expressions, yet the softness in his color bars makes the paintings inviting and somewhat romantic. In Red, Yellow and Blue, Scully presents the grand aquatints “Dark Fold” and “Vertical Bridge”. Rich earth tones contrasts with bright parts in these works, whose compositions are characteristic of Scully.

Red, Yellow and Blue; our three primary colors, which has been so carefully analyzed by both Newton as Goethe, is the base and foundation of painting. They are like the letters in a text, like building blocks, and bring with them the possibility to combine and vary endlessly. Primary colors will always be the starting point and inspiration for painting, a foundation that in Gianakos, Hahne and Scully’s work truly goes to proof.