Mindy Solomon is proud to introduce, for his first Miami solo exhibition, the work of Michael Conrads. Currently an artist in residence at the Fountainhead in Miami, he hails from Germany.
Conrads believes good painting is a manifestation of the artist’s emotional and intellectual sensibilities realized on canvas. Ultimately, achieving a visual epiphany and the fulfillment of an aesthetic journey is the final goal.
“Before I start a painting, I usually have a composition in mind, which I develop through a series of small-scale drawings. These are drawn onto a specially modified grid, which enables me to shift between dimensions of space—from plain top view to isometric perspective to multilayered, multidimensional space-and-time tables. I use the grid as a tool to construct the illusion of depth, and to create contradictory perspectives that change while gazing at the picture. The perspectives can be quite complex at times, while others are merely repetitive and pattern-like, which can lead to ultra-dense, self-consuming structures. The magic happens (or doesn´t) in the transformation from a graphic drawing to painting.”
Utilizing a variety of media, from acrylics to oil, spray color, pigment, shellac, bitumen, and pastel, Conrads’s process is the materialization of painting. His process of art-making constructed to analyze how painting works. The parameters of a painting contain many contradictions: light and dark, dense and loose, quickly drawn and elaborately articulated, dynamic and static, colorful and monochromatic. Conrads believes all of these actions are valid. It is the utilization and implementation that create perfect compositional balance.
Conrads states: “Finding balance is usually the hardest part. It all comes down to what happens on the canvas. As much as planning or drawing may help to prepare for a painting, there are no shortcuts. A former exhibition title of mine comes to mind: No paint no gain. Lately, I have rather been looking for simplicity than complexity. It makes the work quieter and more dynamic at the same time, and helps me to focus on certain aspects of painting. Recent works include paintings that only consist of various types of pre-primed white canvases put together in spatial compositions, consisting of a minimum of painterly gestures. This minimal approach makes traces of the work or mistakes a lot more obvious. As the white cube, which only exists in theory—and can, in reality—never be perfected.
“But not all paintings are that minimal, and luckily, I am still fascinated by color. My paintings are about perception. They give me intellectual stimulation. I don´t want to explain anything in my work or to be identified with a particular name or a genre. There is no overlying concept. Showing the process of painting is important, but not my final goal. I guess it is important because painting is what I love to do. In that sense, a painting is no more than the sum of all the single actions that I did to it until it´s done. And sometimes that´s a lot.”
Michael Conrads (b. 1977) lives and works in Berlin and Mexico City. He is a graduate of the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. His work has been shown in the Hamburg Kunsthalle and Produzentengalerie Hamburg, Galerie Michael Haas Berlin and Zurich, and Museum Weserburg Bremen, among many other institutions and galleries across Europe. With a focus on painting, he is constantly investigating the boundaries of the medium, creating semi-complex to ultra-dense, self-consuming structures that investigate architecture, modernism, minimal, constructivism, and failed utopia.