January 6 - February 9, 2014
Opening January 16, 7pm
Gallery Brandstrup Oslo welcomes the New Year with young American artist Dan Schein (1985). The exhibition follows his first solo exhibition in Europe, at Gallery Tom Christoffersen in Denmark in 2013. Schein’s paintings are expressed figuratively and are expressionistically visualized. His technique is related to the modernization of the traditional oil painting, with a particular link to the expressionist movement in Germany in the 1900s.
At Galleri Brandstrup the range of Schein’s paintings shown are influenced by motives arising from diverse narrative. In a mishmash of these stories and Schein’s challenging painting technique, the exhibition creates a dynamic and exciting look at a young but rapidly established oeuvre.
The motives may seem like frozen scenarios, stopped in the middle of an ongoing action. In the large formats, the viewer is drawn into situations that are both comical and dramatic, but also striking in their everyday surroundings. This appears also in the work Nothing Grows, showing two distressed farmers who desperately throw themselves over their land with dark and barren soil. As the title implies, the motive takes place somewhere in a rural culture, which is a recurring motif in all of Schein paintings. There is a black sense of humor diffusing all his works, which can be seen in the painting Head Off in a macabre scenario that unfolds between two people and a scythe.
In Schein’s work humans have distinct visual features reminiscent of our melancholy, desperate and ravenous qualities. The Danish-German Die Brücke painter Emil Nolde is comparable with the masked faces in his paintings, which as in Schein’s artistry, is supported by an expressionist painting technique. The thick and uncured lines of oil paint, creates a new dimension in the human ways and expressions; because as the frozen action among these people seem immanent, this tendency is also supported in Schein’s technical process. His underlying interest in the impulsive is a general propensity in his work. The paintings are rarely constructed from processed sketches, but in the actual process of creating his art is characterized by an intentional unfinished.
Schein is seen in connection with the Expressionist tradition, both in terms of the formal qualities of the paintings, but also in his use of the spiritual landscape. The surrounding countryside is the counterpoint of urbanity; however Schein portrays landscapes that are in stark contrast to the idealization of unspoilt countryside established throughout art history. This tendency in Schein’s artistry can be seen in the context of Edvard Munch's use of the visual qualities of the landscape. For comparison, the surroundings in Schein’s paintings are reflections of man's inner emotions, which are supported by the subjects' action. But to Schein the rural nature is not untouched and clean, but clearly marked; a landscape that gives the viewer a metaphorical insight into human emotions.