Collection: Rainer Gross

Rainer Gross is a seventy years old German painter, who is originally from Cologne but spends most of his time in New York. His show, entitled “Contact Paintings,” consists of work originated by his placing together, overnight, two canvases of the same size, each of them covered by six or seven layers of paint, neither in patterned nor in a monochromatic fashion. Removing the two canvases that had been in contact the next day, Gross turns the results upside down and shows them as closely related but not exactly mirroring images of each other. Indeed, part of the experience of the composition has to do with his audience linking parts of the two more or fewer twin compositions in their gaze. As examples, both of the works that are closely related and also independent of each other, having been deliberately made by the artist and also by chance. Thus, the paintings operate along a spectrum of esthetic choices, not necessarily easily seen. I mean by this that they occupy places that are deliberately ambiguous, on both a materials and thematic level. Thus, the supposed twin paintings are, and are not, the same. Gross is not the first artist to leave work to chance; more than a few contemporary painters have left their work outdoors in order for the compositions to pick up the influences and changes created by the climate and weather. Interestingly, though, in Gross’s case, the art turns out to be remarkably expressive, to the point of highly attractive feeling, despite the restraint and impartiality of its facture.