April 26, 2023—Hollis Taggart is pleased to present Troposphere, the Vienna-based artist André Hemer's second solo show with the gallery. Continuing his ongoing engagement with nature, the nine new canvases and new video work in the exhibition reflect the artist's deep study of the sky as well as his fascination with documenting light. New to this body of work is Hemer's experimentation with oval-shaped canvases, which, combined with his masterful fusion of digital media and painting, create a stunning portal-like effect of bursting open his iridescent compositions of glowing sunset colors to the viewer. Troposphere will be on view on the second floor of Hollis Taggart from May 11 through June 24, 2023, with an opening reception on Thursday, May 11, from 5-8PM.
André Hemer (b. 1981, New Zealand) has honed a practice that explores the intersections between digital media and painting. His interest in sampling and transacting digital media—including photographs, digital scans, and film taken in various location—is born out of a desire to synthesise the concerns of the post-internet age with more traditional methods and techniques. Hemer's process often involves scanning physical objects, such as three-dimensional paint forms or flora and fauna, en plein air to capture these objects against the sky and their surrounding environments. The resulting scans are printed on canvas and function as an underlayer onto which paint is applied or the original sculpted paint is overlaid, creating a dialogue between material and image.
Unlike Hemer's previous bodies of work which used source material from one location over brief moments of time, the works in Trophosphere are amalgamations of images of the sky from various places the artist has worked over the past year, including New Zealand, Sicily, Thailand, Indonesia, Vienna, and New York. Reflecting Hemer's ongoing fixation with capturing how light changes over time and space, Hemer has now collapsed these variables into ethereal canvases that transcend these specificities and offer universal skyscapes.
While in Italy, Hemer spent time considering the intertwining of painting, light, and architecture during the Renaissance, and was impacted by the theatricality of the art and architectural spaces from that period. Offering a heightened contrast of the close-up foreground of flora and paint against the scanned ambient background skies, the oval-shaped works in Troposphere transmute into virtual windows and allude to these ceiling frescoes and shaped canvases of the Renaissance. Hemer's work has also become more representational, with the artist's digital en plein air process more apparent in Troposphere than in previous works.
For the month before the exhibition's opening, Hemer has been working from a studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, enabling him to incorporate the scenes and sounds of New York City into his newest work. Troposphere also premieres a new video work that includes sound captured at the Navy Yard, from birdsong to the ambient noise of the former shipbuilding hub.
'For my generation, the primary concern has been the way in which digital media and interfaces have affected our way of being in the world,' says Hemer. 'The complexity of transacting our ideas through multiplicities of form is ironically what has always bought me back to painting as a medium through which to express those ideas—perhaps because these 'old' objects have a wonderful way of capturing complexity in a simpler form. Troposphere corresponds to the way in which I see our way of being and seeing materiality in the contemporary age; where the constant transaction between digital and physical materiality is what constitutes a new way of seeing (and being) in the world.'
Press release courtesy Hollis Taggart.