In an exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Zürich, Hungarian-born, New York-based artist Rita Ackermann presents her latest body of work – a continuation of her Mama series – consisting of automatic drawings and paintings on canvas which reveal her persisting interrogation of line, color and form.
This new suite of paintings on both canvas and paper, feature figures and motifs which rise to the surface only to dissolve and reappear elsewhere again. In Ackermann’s Mama series, repeated imagery is often combined with vivid swathes of color, giving her work a complex visual component that oscillates between abstraction and figuration. Her images are the product of automatic lines and gestures, a subconscious unfolding of form.
Ackermann’s distinctive approach to layering yields a framework for a maelstrom of vibrant pigments and textures that invite and immerse the viewer. In works such as ‘Mama, The Best is Always Yet To Come’ (2020), the weight of the paint’s application combined with the additive and subtractive process of color and figurative line, evoke a nuanced interior realm. Pastel, pigment, china marker, and oil create a depth of surface, which are scraped away to reveal figures of shattered compositions.
For her new series of works on paper, Ackermann applies oil and china marker to create intimate incarnations of her larger canvases. Titling them as ‘studies’, Ackermann focuses on details of her Mama paintings, obscuring various pencil-drawn figures through thick veils of brightly colored oil paint. ‘Mama ‘20’ at Hauser & Wirth Zürich continues Ackermann’s distinctive approach to painting and the coalescence between the personal and collective experience within.