Abi Shek. Without title. Woodcut with ink on canvas, 150 cm x 116 cm. Picture courtesy of Abi Shek.
THE BOX, a Gallery in Düsseldorf (see http://theboxduesseldorf.blogspot.de/), opened a new exhibition this evenig showing some works of Abi Shek. Not only do I like Abi’s art a lot, his family and my own are also connected by several ties of friendship, so it was a special pleasure for me to attend the opening of the exhibition. The author, essayist and poet Frank Schablewski, a friend of Abi, delivered an interesting opening address, providing his own interpretation of Abi Shek’s works.
A central topic of Abi’s work is animals. The works shown here are large woodcuts, really large compared to typical print sizes. They are printed with printer’s ink on stretched, gessoed, painting size canvases. In some cases, like in the example shown above, additional picture elements have been painted using blue-violet ink.
Abi’s works are abstracted to black, filled contours on white ground, reduced to two dimensions. They are partially inspired by living animals, partially by ancient cultures, especially pre-historic rock art. They hover on the border between abstract and figurative art, distilling the animals into archetypal shapes that evoke resonances of animal fables and emotional encounters with nature.
The exhibition also includes a number of small metal sheet sculptures, showing animals as well. These also start with two-dimensional contours cut out of the metal sheets, but regain the third dimension by bending the sheets. As a result, they inhabit a border area between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional, between graphic art and sculpture. Abi Shek originally studied sculpture with Micha Ullman. These sculptures indicate how Abi’s graphic art is connected to his origins in three-dimensional art. In a way, his wooden printing blocks are sculptural as well, reliefs that are then used as printing blocks.
For more information on Abi Shek see http://www.abishek.de/.
THE BOX. Duisburger Str. 97, 40479 Düsseldorf, Germany.
May 2nd, 2014 to May 18th, 2014.
Opening times: Mo. 7 PM to 10 PM, Tue. 6 PM to 21 PM, Fr. 6 PM to 8 PM or uppon arrangement.