German painting often seems like the only game in town. Magnus Plessen’s fourth exhibition of new paintings at Gladstone Gallery furthers his decade long exploration into the verities of the palette knife as a requisite tool for paint application. Expanding his use of a limited palette, this time with the addition of Prussian blue and Lemon yellow, Plessen’s quasi-figurative and still life paintings waver between indifference and commitment, all spoken through the wipe of a flat blade. Broadly, Plessen was a part of a group of European artists who began exhibiting paintings in the early 2000s that did not discriminate between abstraction and representation. Instead, the ‘Sasnal Effect’ artists as they were dubbed in Artforum in 2004 combined elements of observation, photographic display and abstraction, often with splashy paint handling that eschewed strict allegiance to any limited mode of presentation. Plessen new paintings, grand, slapdash and august, carry on his painterly investigations of forms. Hands, lemons, faces and arms comingle in an amalgam of late Picasso, Raoul Duffy and the Brothers Quay. Noodles and scrawls are a vocabulary of forms that compliments the flatly trawled paint. Spatially shallow through his use of interlocking shapes, Plessen’s paintings amply convince of their pictorial abilities.
Oil on Canvas 69 x 53 ¼ inches