A solo exhibition by Thomas Øvlisen
Thomas Øvlisen’s new body of work in Grazing Blitz is the result of his continuous exploration of the potential, or lack of same, of contemporary abstract painting and sculpture. Entering the gallery the visitor is greeted by four large-scale sculptures. Crafted around a polystyrene core, glass fibre, cloth, and multiple layers of paint, spray paint, auto paint and lacquer, the monolithic shaped pieces have an otherworldly presence - objects of past, present and possible future. It is a shape and format Øvlisen has engaged multiple times over the past years, but in this series, he has broken through the monoliths, leaving gaping holes, large enough for a slim person to climb through. Viewing the sculptures there is the alluring call of “enter the rabbit hole”. Punching through the minimal formal structure, the painterly surface and high gloss finish and entering a sea of emotion with high and low tides and random tsunamis.
The new sculptures might be pivotal to understanding Thomas Øvlisen’s oeuvre. Drawing on various positions and practices, almost contradictory, Pollock, McCraken, abstract Richter, Rothko, Judd and agit-graffiti, Øvlisen’s practice is hard to categorize. His works are both formal and specific, balancing between painting and sculpture, minimal, abstract and infused with an immediate vitality. He is very conscious and forthright about his references, some tending homages and salutes, embracing and acknowledging other artists, past and present. In this sense his work is informed by various traditions and positions, but the work itself transcends the boundaries of categorization. Infusing minimal structured work with emotion, personality and chance. Qualities that minimalism rigorously tried to elude. Giving structure to abstract expressionism and high gloss industrial finish to trash painting. It only seems like a natural artistic next level of progression for Øvlisen to literally break through to the other side. As a guest in Grazing Blitz you are invited to move eight other new sculptures around, each roughly the size of a slim door, curating and constituting your own version of the exhibition within the exhibition. Each sculpture has two sides and can be turned or flipped and propped against the gallery wall. A gesture that exemplifies Thomas Øvlisen’s belief that contemporary works should be inclusive, informed by, but not controlled by the artist. A radical belief and tactic in a highly ego driven (art) world, that confronts the sanctity, position and permanence of contemporary art.
Thomas Øvlisen (Born 1975, Denmark) lives and works outside Copenhagen. He has a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, USA. Øvlisen has exhibited extensively in both Europe and America. Most recently he participated in the exhibition Xtraction at The Hole gallery, New York, for which he received critical praise from New York Times art critic Ken Johnson who ended his review on this note: “While most of the show’s artists remain preoccupied by surface aesthetics, as Mr. Ovlisen, this particular object suggests that for imaginative painters, abstraction may still be a portal to uncharted possibilities”. Grazing Blitz is Thomas Øvlisen’s fourth solo exhibition with V1 Gallery.