Skip to content
Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Open from Tuesday to
Sunday 12 pm → 6 pm

Admission always free
16 Apr 94until21 May 94

Helmut Dorner

Under the Surface

555 Hamilton St

Three vertical paintings on a gallery wall. The painting on the left is all grey, the centre one has a two-column grid with black lines, and the one on the right has 3 clusters of black semi-circles.

Helmut Dorner, installation view from Under the Surface. Photographer unknown.

Helmut Dorner's painting is rooted in the history of abstraction and the continued exploration of form. Toronto based independent curator Gregory Salzman has written of Dorner's work that it "engages us in a close and sustained process of looking that entails a certain stringency and clarity but also a degree of uncertainty and indeterminacy. His art is not bound by any aim or purpose, but true to the nature of perception itself, remains contingent and mutable." While the grids, language signs and decorative motifs suggest references to the real world, they never quite ground themselves and remain in a state of becoming.

Dorner employs various materials in his paintings including oil, lacquer and plexiglass. The surfaces range from thick impasto to finely polished finishes. The works are constructed of many successive layers. The lacquer paintings are worked by pouring the paint onto the surface and the images are formed by stencils. This brings a tactile and highly physical quality to the paintings that inverts one's first impression that these are cool and objective works.

Helmut Dorner works and teaches in Karlsruhe, Germany. His work has been seen in Germany, France, Spain and Belgium and was included in the 1993 Documenta in Kassel, Germany. This exhibition, guest curated by Gregory Salzman and circulated by Mercer Union in Toronto, is Dorner's first North American showing.

Curated by Gregory Salzman Exhibition organized by Mercer Union Gallery, Toronto