Canada is pleased to present Heart, Heart, new paintings by Anke Weyer, an artist who has been showing with the gallery since 2000.
The heart is conjured in these works not as a turn to sentimentality, but rather for the organ’s kinetic rhythm, its variance of speed and ability to endure, which Weyer channels through the physicality of her large-scale, gestural abstractions. The heart as a symbol might appear as one among a heap of boldly drawn limbs or letterforms rendered atop layers of paint. Weyer pays attention to drawing, especially preparatory sketches, yet will often let original imagery fall away. One gets the sense of weather with Weyer, re-painting or wiping away the pictorial as though it’s a fleeting and imprecise natural event.
Through a series of repeated gestures and material experiments, Weyer works with a clear-headed intention to let shit hit the fan. She might begin a painting with sketched out shapes or sweeping lines covering the canvas, as though trying to pin down a wobbly horizon or flesh out atmosphere in the middle distance. Color is layered with wide brushes in deliberate up and down motions that conjure a task like fence painting or wall plastering. Work is evidenced and appears of equal importance as any more heroic gesture. She makes decisions to scrape things off—removing passages of paint and putting them on elsewhere. Weyer treats the paint as something sacred yet completely subject to destruction. She uses a range of local color thrown together inclusively, with a seeming desire to balance hues without favoring one over another.
Several years ago, oil paint became a problem for the artist. While its luminous pigments and flexibility allowed Weyer an inimitable freedom to experiment with color and mark-making, the toxicity of the stuff caused her an allergic reaction when unleashed in her Brooklyn studio. Rather than adopt new materials, Weyer pushed the paintings outdoors to her backyard in a remote corner of upstate New York. Here, she works plein-air: tacking unstretched canvas to a makeshift wooden platform and acquiescing to the variables of weather and hours of daylight. She paints this way for much of the year, allowing landscape, its psychology, material traces, and shifting sunlight to creep into her process. Later the paintings get cropped and composed onto stretcher bars, creating an irregular halo of white canvas punctuated by a flurry of active marks.
Bringing the paintings outside started as an act of necessity, yet giving them air, light, and proximity to nature infused the practice with a different animating force. Weyer’s insistence, to rearrange both environment and self, illuminates a stubborn devotion to her medium and points to the pathological pursuit of giving form to feeling. The result is a new body of work that is very much in line with her past explorations but also expanded in ways that feel both natural and infinite.
Anke Weyer was born in Karlsruhe, Germany (1974). Weyer attended the Staatliche Hochschule für bildende Künste Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main (1995-2000) where she studied with Per Kirkeby. She undertook an exchange semester at the Cooper Union, New York in 1999 and the following year, moved permanently to NYC. Shortly thereafter, she mounted her first solo exhibition with Canada at its original location in Tribeca and since then, has presented several solo and two person exhibitions with the gallery. Other recent solo shows include Elbow Hood Trunk, Tim Van Laere Gallery, Brussels (2017), Gravity Idiot, Mier Gallery, Los Angeles (2019), and Two Islands are Better than One, Office Baroque, Brussels (2015). Group shows include The Last Waltz (For Leon), Tim Van Laere Gallery (2019), Schluss mit Reden, spielen wir!, Kunsthalle Lingen (2019), “Women of Abstraction,” MOCA Jacksonville, FL (2016). A monograph on the artist is forthcoming this year. She lives and works in Brooklyn and in the Western Catskills, NY.