Margaret Thatcher Projects is pleased to present its first solo exhibition with New York-based German artist Rainer Gross, Contact Paintings – Logos and Toons. The exhibition brings together Gross’s painterly transformations of contemporary symbols -- primarily logos, animated Disney characters, and sports team trademarks.
In his essay accompanying the exhibition, art historian Michaël Amy observes:
“Like (Jasper) Johns’ flags and targets, the images Gross has selected are both flat and man-made…These bold designs with their voluptuous curves or sharp edges and angles, and highly saturated, contrasting colors, were conceived to seize the eye. They are, for this reason, ideal territory for painting to explore. There is an aw-shucks type of admiration for these symbols of the American way embedded in these paintings, but it comes with a twist.”
Juxtaposing contemporary symbols with surfaces that evoke a sense of history,Rainer Gross conceives of these paintings from our contemporary global landscape, simultaneously displacing them from any specific moment or period.
Gross significantly crops the logos or trademarks. In the painting process a series of water and oil based pigments are pressed together using two separate canvases. They are then gently peeled apart to reveal the look of worn surfaces. The two canvases may be exhibited together, as groups of double logos or exist individually.
Rainer Gross was born in Köln, Germany in 1951. He has lived and worked in New York City for 40 years. In 2012, the Museum Ludwig (Koblenz, Germany) held a four-decade survey of his paintings. Other notable national and international exhibits include the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts (Lausanne, Switzerland), Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion (Champaign, Illinois), Kunsthalle Emden (Emden, Germany), Galerie Stefan Röpke (Köln, Germany), and Galerie Arnés y Röpke, (Madrid, Spain). Gross’ paintings are housed in numerous public collections, including the AT&T Corporate Art Collection, the Cohen Family Collection, the Hirschhorn Collection, the UBS Union Bank of Switzerland, and the Lowe Art Museum. His work has been reviewed by The New York Times, Art in America, ArtNews, The Brooklyn Rail, The Boston Globe, and others.