17 January – 7 March 2009
Praz-Delavallade is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of works by Julian Hoeber in France.
This body of works picks up on the formal strategies the artist has been running lately -- black and white optical drawings in series ; bronze sculptures of human heads which have been violently altered--as well as a few of his older modes such as trompe l'oeil and collage. The very change in this show is the addition of some more harmonious forms that tend towards pure abstraction.
"My practice has been one that has involved a lot of difficult subject matter--violence, sex, love, political apathy, and mental illness. There is still certainly an ongoing fascination with nausea and alienation which I've tried to approach in this new show through form, optics and space. Two central ideas are inaction, or the sense of being trapped, and the idea of the void. Images of guns that cannot be fired, abstractions that resemble outer space, images of prisoners and crass jokes on psychological cliches about toilet habits.
These new works feature the addition of colorful abstract collages on the backside of the drawings. I had changed the technique for making the optical drawings to a method of painting the entire paper black and drawing the white areas by removing them with a knife. To keep the works from literally falling apart I had to glue a paper backing on the drawing to strengthen them. As I started doing this I saw that the backs of the drawings were another surface to make an image on. It reminded me of drawing as a child, flipping the paper over and using the other side because one just wants to keep going. The final destination of the work is unimportant when you're a kid. It just matters that you're making things. I also thought about how one often sees drawings from the Renaissance with images on both sides of the paper because paper was so expensive at this time.
As I started to work I thought I could think of the backs as a sort of secret, a place where I could make drawings I might not usually show. It's funny that for me the secret work, the work that I'd almost be ashamed to show, is one that is harmonious and pretty. Once I had completed a few of them I felt like the beauty on the back side of the drawings made a sort of good joke. I've always told people that behind all of the aggressive and confrontational stuff in my work was a personal sense of harmony and generosity. It seemed to me that the colorful abstractions on the backs of the works literalized this statement. Now the confrontational optical drawings actually had something beautiful behind them. It also began to feel to me that this somewhat hidden aspect of the drawings functioned like a subconscious mind for the works."