“Pleasure and Paint”
January 15 – February 21, 2004
Galerie Lisa Ruyter is pleased to present new paintings by Katherine Bernhardt. This is the 28-year-old painter’s first solo exhibition in Austria.
Bernhardt’s paintings suggest that something new is possible in the pleasure of painterly excess. Like Polke or Kippenberger, they are bold, arrogant, risky and disruptive. Her practice is stridently irreverent. Bernhardt takes advantage of the material hybridity of contemporary painting; she is a master of economy and aggression.
Her most recent work – in which she has narrowed down her choice of materials to acrylic, spray paint, and canvas cutouts – playfully and consciously references the artists she has been looking at most recently: Donald Baechler most obviously, in the canvas cutouts and formal arrangements, but also painters such as Laura Owens and Chris Ofili.
To get an idea of Bernhardt’s position, simply look at her personal iconography, which includes references to the flashy fashion of American rap, pop and sports stars – Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana – all pulled from promotional materials, ads and even magazine articles on the stars themselves.
Bernhardt places herself in a similar dynamic in relation to the fashions of painting. Though a background may, at a glance, seem like a badly executed reference to Pollock, the masterful depth she ultimately achieves is all show business: an unrestrained, performative and completely natural expression.