Rita Ackermann. Mama ’19 at Hauser & Wirth Chelsea




Rita Ackermann, Mama, Morty Smoking, 2019; Oil, pigment, acrylic, china marker, and graphite on canvas; 223.5 x 198.1 cm/88 x 78 in © Rita Ackermann. Photo: Thomas Barratt. Image courtesy Hauser & Wirth

Beginning 20 February, Hauser & Wirth will present the latest body of work by Hungarian born, New York-based artist Rita Ackermann ~ a suite of new paintings in which figures and motifs rise to the surface of canvases, only to dissolve and reappear elsewhere again.

In such works as ‘Mama Painting for Mars’ (2019), repeated figurative imagery and expanses of intense color combine in complex visual currents. In other works, Ackermann’s distinctive approach to the layering of drawings, yields a framework for a maelstrom of vibrant pigments and textures that seem to advance toward the viewer with velocity.

Like Ackermann’s Chalkboard Paintings (2015), the works on view in ‘Mama ‘19’ are built through an additive and subtractive process. Here, her palette and gestural vocabulary has expanded to evoke a vibrant interior realm through the application of paint. Thick layers of impasto and oil stick are vigorously and repeatedly applied and scraped in such works as ‘Mama, Morty Smoking’ (2019), with both the paintbrush and the artist’s bare hands working to shape a site of ancestry and conception.

Rita Ackermann, Mama Painting for Mars, 2019; Oil, pigment, acrylic, and china marker on canvas; 190.5 x 165.1 cm/75 x 65 in © Rita Ackermann. Photo: Thomas Barratt. Image courtesy Hauser & Wirth.

However, Ackermann’s work rejects efforts to read as stories. An inheritor of the gestural abstractions of such American masters as Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly, her images are the product of automatic gestures, a subconscious unfolding on the canvas. Hers is a study of relationships – between figuration and abstraction, between personal and collective experience.

As an extension of the exhibition, ‘Rita Ackermann, Mama ‘19’ is accompanied by a publication featuring essays by Scott Griffin and Harmony Korine.

Rita Ackermann. Mama ’19 will be on view from February 20 through April 11, 2020 at Hauser & Wirth New York, 548 West 22nd Street, NYC. Opening Reception to be held on Thursday, February 20th from 6:00 to 8:00pm.