Cadmium Lemon is the name of a group exhibition that brings together 10 artists from different ages and parts of the world who approach painting from contemporary perspectives while also listening to the rich tradition with which they dialogue.
Cadmium yellow is a pigment discovered in Germany back in 1817 by Friedrich Stromeyer widely used by early 20th century painters, such as Van Gogh or Matisse. Depending on the size of the particles and the impurities, cadmium pigments can vary in colour from orange to red and yellow. The lemon hue refers to the colour of the fruit's peel; as a pigment it moves between fluorescent and greenish tones, appealing not only to the eye, but also to the smell and taste. The pieces gathered here stimulate us sensorily and voluptuously as they carry out an exuberant exploration of the possibilities offered by painting.
Adrianne Rubinstein (Montreal, Canada, 1983) lives and works in New York. Her paintings are mostly still lifes created from everyday objects, mainly flowers and vegetables (her family works in a vegetable distribution company) and she represents them pictorially as if they were landscapes. Through an ambiguous visual language, the primary colours and scattered shadows represent what could sometimes be flowers and vegetables, but also extremities or heads. In her creation process, the artist gives an attentive look to masters of the European avant-garde such as Matisse, but also to contemporaries, such as Helen Frankenthaler or Laura Owens. She creates dazzling and vibrant paintings of material colour applied with broad brushstrokes in which our eyes seem to sink.
Elisabeth McIntosh (1967, Ontario, Canada) lives and works in Vancouver. Her works are the result of long conversations on the canvas, where improvisation and appropriation alternate. She begins her work without a preconceived plan and continues with marks, gestures and details found in historical paintings she admires, whether it is the detail of a striped shirt in a Picasso painting or patterns found in a children's book by Paul Klee. This is followed by more focused decisions on texture and colour application. She approaches painting as a transformative game to which we surrender and where we also find an element of discovery that takes us far from the mundane aspects of everyday life.
Patricia Treib (1979, Saginaw, USA) lives and works in New York. She makes her pieces by putting together details and compositions of historical paintings. The strategies she uses are close to calligraphic methods but also to those of transmission by repetition, that is, through the copy of diverse sources, be it masters of the European avant-garde or 15th-century Russian icons. She reworks the original material, resulting in blocked colour forms—some vibrant and colourful, others softer—on often ecru backgrounds. The final result is a seductive simplicity of pastel or ceramic-like textures, sweet and appealing.
The idea of the surface as a playground for exploration and creation of textures and elements is also present in the works of Elena Alonso (Madrid, 1981). The primary focus of her work is drawing, which she interrelates with other disciplines such as painting, architecture, handicraft and design, paying particular attention to issues related to affectivity towards the environment. Her works have a high apollonian character and are sophisticated and exquisite, with no apparent margin of error, using varied textures and flattened forms that seem to be floating in time and space. Her latest series shows an interesting evolution towards more sensual and organic spheres.
Larissa Lockshin (1992, Toronto, Canada) lives and works in Queens, New York. She uses printing ink, acrylic, oil sticks, enamel and chalk, creating objects that reach the viewer and exist in the liminal space between painting and sculpture. Frustrated by the emphasis on conceptual art during her education and the current digital dominance led her to want to explore painting as a physical object, while working with little impressionist and largely unrecognisable forms. Her glossy works have no primer and rely on the balance of gestures and marks to reveal negative space. Gestures that can be compared to landscapes, musical notations or even traces of dancers' movements.
Julia Dault (1977, Toronto, Canada) lives and works in Toronto. She is known for her abstract paintings and sculptures, which reveal the processes of their own making. Dault often uses unusual materials such as vinyl, silk and spandex as a medium for her paintings. She first adds multiple layers of paint and continues with a removal technique to expose the underlying colours using industrial tools such as brushes, combs, sponges and foam blocks. A sense of movement, rhythm and manipulation prevails in her works.
Cornelia Baltes (1978, Germany) invites us into a world where spontaneity and play give way to subtle details. Her technique is precise, and the rich range of colour is contrasted by the use of a highly pigmented black providing for great depth. The oscillation between imagination and abstraction is evident; body elements such as hands and feet, or part of a face, are often captured in movement and combined with bold lines that create gestural forms that come together to insinuate a story without revealing it completely. Works that come from personal yet universal experiences and with which viewers can connect in an intimate way.
The work of Katherine Bernhardt (1975, Missouri, USA) takes the form of painting patterns that represent a set of everyday objects that have been isolated from their original context. Typical motifs include fast food, cigarettes, toys and household objects, or tropical elements such as turtles, toucans and exotic fruits as a result of her travels in Central America. She finds inspiration in African carpets and textiles and even in Dutch waxes. She often combines all this with nostalgic characters such as Garfield, Pink Panther or ET. Her brightly coloured canvases are a joyful testimony to her personal passions and obsessions. Through the disparity between the elements she brings together, she creates an eccentric universe, an exuberantly disordered collection of contemporary icons.
Sofia Stevi (1982, Athens, Greece) produces paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Her works bring together a wide range of references, from mythology to images found on Instagram, literature and philosophy. Stevi's broad lines and colours describe form with a sense of playfulness and animation. Her paintings capture fleshy fruits and soft body contours with an expressiveness similar to that of cartoons. Made with Japanese ink on untreated cotton fabric, her works evoke the domestic world while also being quite erotically loaded. The torsos and limbs dissolve into psychedelic patterns and colour washings. Moving between the real and the imaginary, Stevi's works are often deeply personal and explore the artist's desires and dreams.
Tala Madani (Tehran, 1981) produces canvases and animations that feature enigmatic scenes, often populated by anonymous, bald men. Her work reshapes masculinity and breaks down roles and stereotypes to explore power structures and identity creation. Her pieces have a visual language that is often grotesquely exaggerated, drastic and tender, obscene and funny alike. Madani's work describes a world in which primary desires are not subject to social conventions and norms. Her works are influenced by a light that points both inwardly and outwardly, to human instinct and to disrupted social ritual.
Press release courtesy Galería Pelaires.