02.03 — 03.10.24
(No) Room for Doubt
Alain Biltereyst, Britta Bogers, Gerd Borkelmann, Marlene Frost, Franziska Holstein, Christian Hutzinger, Dorothee Joachim, Christopher Michlig, Gary Stephan, Caleb Taylor and Allison Wade
February 3 – March 1O, 2O24
opening reception: Saturday, February 3, 2 – 5pm
When I first made a grid, I happened to be thinking of the innocence of trees, and then a grid came into my mind and I thought it represented innocence, and I still do, and so I painted it and then I was satisfied. I thought, ‘This is my vision.’
— Agnes Martin
Non-figurative art is created by establishing a dynamic rhythm of determinate mutual relations which excludes the formation of any particular form.
— Piet Mondrian
Creative strategies rooted in minimalism, refined degrees of order and formal clarity are present in every facet of modern culture. For example, we’ve seen architecture evolve through various degrees of ornamentation and embellishment to an International Style led by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier among others. In literature beautiful, direct and simple language is present in Ann Beattie and Raymond Carver. Regardless of the form, a reduction of overstatement and adornment may allow an artist to understand how tight parameters can reveal something absolutely clear and poetic. The artists brought together in (No) Room for Doubt reflect a discipline similar to some of the previous examples in architecture and writing while never losing touch with playfulness, miscalculation and improvisation. This is a fresh approach to the purest and possibly most vigilant areas of high formalism.
The evolution of radical formalism can be traced from Malevich, through Mondrian, to Judd, to Marden and Agnes Martin. In each case, there was a strong desire to remove external reference, fictional narrative, symbol and metaphor in order to arrive at the place where painting—and only painting—could afford a revelatory experience produced solely through a formal strategy within tight parameters. For these artists, it was clear that once reduced to the essential, an elevated sense of visual and conceptual discovery occurred.
For part of the most recent decade, a strong reconsideration of figuration, surrealism with assertive narrative genres has risen to the surface of the contemporary art world. The energy and excitement produced by this expressive work has reinvigorated not only the market, but the significance of story-yelling in visual culture. Maybe that energy was always there, but currently, the focus for many young artists is a desire to tell their stories through image-based, allegorical and fantastical pictorial staging. These are works richly self-referential; the stories told often reflect on the identity and communities of their makers.
(No) Room for Doubt is a group exhibition of mostly Devening Projects-affiliated artists who remain committed to what may run counter to current painting strategies. This highly focused group of artists locate their intellectual and creative worlds within parameters set within a time-tested and rigorous sense of necessity. What is essential to a work in order to trigger the mechanism that moves the engine of the production forward and allows it to arrive as a perfectly formed result? That is only one of the many questions regularly considered in each of the studios of these artists.
Alain Biltereyst was born in 1965 and lives and works in Brussels) continually draws attention to the innate beauty of ubiquitous and practical designs, such as a manhole cover, fence design or airplane tail logo. Working primarily on wood panels, there is an attention to layering and repetition as well as an affinity for certain motifs of color and shape. Biltereyst salvages gems of color, shape, and placement in our everyday advertising and design, and carefully isolates their forms.
Recent solo exhibitions include Leaving the House at Jack Hanley Gallery, Collected Stories at Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Salzburg-Vienna in Salzburg, Austria, How and About What at Hagiwara Projects, Tokyo, Not Just Because at Devening Projects, Chicago, Elsewhere at Loods12, Wetteren, Belgium, Slow, Simple, Sweet at Brand New Gallery, Milan, Dear Everyday at Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, MORE OR LESS at Galeria Múrias Centeno, Porto, and Geo Land at Jack Hanley Gallery. The artist also participated in The B&W Project #5 at Transmitter, Brooklyn, Form Follows Function? at Art Center Hugo Voeten, Herentals, Belgium, Spaghetti Code at Viewing Room, Los Angeles,The Story Behind: Untitled Compositions at Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, Street Geometries at Gallerie Van der Mieden, Brussels and Notes at Devening Projects, Chicago. Biltereyst participated in Chaste Paper at Sotheby’s Gallery, New York. Other exhibitions include ON WHITE at Geukens & De Vil Gallery in Antwerp, PLIAGE / FOLD at Gagosian Gallery, Paris, 30/30 CCNOA at A/B/Contemporary, Zurich and Solo at The Secret Kitchen Gallery in Temse, Belgium.
Britta Bogers was born in 1964 and studied at the Kunstakademie in Münster, Germany and since, has been featured in many group and solo exhibitions. Recent solo and two-person projects include Boardwalk (with Heiner Blumenthal) at Neue Galerie Landshut, Germany; Scrap at the Villa Strünkede, Emschertal-Museum, Herne, Germay; Unity at Circus Eins-Susanne Burmester Galerie, Putbus, Rügen, Germany; Boards and Papers at RAUMX project space, London; Visual Orders – Advisors Rules, Victory Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
Her numerous group exhibitions include recent projects in Germany at Galerie M29 Richter Brückner, Petersburger-Raum für Kunst, Kunstverein Koelnberg and Galerie der Spiegel in Cologne; Galerie oqbo and Galerie im Körnerpark in Berlin; Sammlung Schroth im Wilhelm-Morgner Museum in Soest; Susanne Burmester Galerie, Putbus in Rügen; Kunstverein Lüneburg; Claudia Weil Galerie in Friedberg; and the Museum Kurhaus Kleve. In the US, her work has been seen in exhibitions at Devening Projects in Chicago and Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Gallery in New York.
Born in 1958, Gerd Borkelmann has been showing his drawings and paintings since the early eighties in Europe and the United States. He has had solo shows in Cologne at Galerie Dorit Jacobs, at the Galerie im Trudelhaus, in Baden, Switzerland, at the Kunstverein Peschkenhaus in Moers, the Museum B.C. Koekkoek in Kleve and recently a solo show at the Kunstverein Haus im Park in Emmerich, Germany. In his 2009 and 2014 shows at devening projects + editions, he presented a selection of works on paper from an ongoing group that started in 2005; in total, there are more than 200 works in this series. At first glance, these works—each measuring only 30 x 20 cm—might seem like finger exercises or casual notes. However, in fact, each is highly complex; tracing and understanding the relationships and interactions between these works poses a great challenge. As a painter Gerd Borkelmann possesses an enormous sensitivity for the finest nuances of colour and an unmistakable awareness of materials and surfaces. His work is characterised by an impressive concentration of formal means and an uncompromising pursuit of simplicity and clarity. His work can be found in collections of the Deutsche Bank, the Leopold Hoesch Museum in Düren and the Museum Kurhaus in Kleve. Gerd Borkelmann lives and works in Kleve, Germany.
Franziska Holstein was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1978. She attended the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts from 2000 to 2005 where she studied with Arno Rink. From 2005 to 2008 she was a Master Student of Neo Rauch. Since 2022, and along with artist Henriette Grahnert, she has been teaching a specialist class for painting and graphics at the HGB Leipzig. Her work has been shown internationally in numerous venues, most recently in the Museum of the Fine Arts in Leipzig; in the Art Museums of Bonn, Wiesbaden, Chemnitz and the Hamburg Deichtorhallen. In September 2023, Holstein’s work was featured in a comprehensive solo exhibition at the Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal, Germany; that project was presented in dialogue with the works of Concrete Art from the museum collection. In 2011, Holstein has received grants from the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation; at that time, she presented a two-person exhibition with Robert Seidel. 2012, she was an artist-in-residence for three months in Columbus, Ohio sponsored by the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) and the Ministry for Science and Art of the State of Saxony. She was also a resident artist for six months at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. In 2015 she received a printmaking scholarship at KKV Graphic Malmö, Sweden and in 2016 at Frans Masereel Center in Kasterlee, Belgium. Her abstract serial works include paintings, printmaking and paper objects. Franziska Holstein lives and works in Leipzig, Germany and is represented by Galerie Friese, Berlin and Galerie ASPN, Leipzig.
Christian Hutzinger was born in Vienna in 1966 and grew up in Mödling and Ebensee, Austria and Old Greenwich, Connecticut. He studied painting at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna from 1987 – 1991. His artistic practice includes painting, collage and site-specific work, mainly wall paintings. Several solo and group exhibitions included projects at: MUMOK, Galerie Martin Janda and Kerstin Engholm Gallery in Vienna, Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg and Lentos Kunstmuseum in Linz, Austria; the National Art Museum of Moldova in Chisinau, Moldovia; Hagiwara Projects in Tokyo, Japan; Zacheta National Gallery in Warsaw, Poland; the Austrian Cultural Forum, London, Great Britain and Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. Christian Hutzinger lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
Dorothee Joachim received a Masters Degree in Painting from FH Cologne, Department of Fine Art. In 2012, she won the Leo Breuer Award of Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR), along with solo exhibitions at LVR LandesMuseum and at Gesellschaft für Kunst und Gestaltung in Bonn. Recent solo and two-person shows include installations at kjubh Kunstverein, Cologne (accompanied by a catalog), and Laszló Vass Collection, Veszprém, HUN (2-P), 2017; Off Space, Devening Projects, Chicago (2-P), 2012; Brühler Kunstverein, Brühl, Germany, and Devening Projects, Chicago, 2009; pp projects, Hamburg, 2008; Kunst aus NRW, Aachen-Kornelimünster (2-P), 2007; galerie januar e.V., Bochum, 2002; Kunstmuseum Mülheim/Ruhr (with catalog) and Galerie Schütte, Essen, 2001. In 2011, she presented “IM ROHBAU”, a one-day site-specific painting intervention at W7, Haus Wallrath + Jacob, a Cologne residential building from 1888 in reconstruction, in cooperation with architect Andrea Wallrath, BDA. Recent group exhibitions include Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL, 2018; Kunstforum Solothurn and Galerie Abbühl, Solothurn, CH, Galerie Schmidt und Schütte, Cologne, and The Flying Field, Berlin, 2017; COFA Contemporary, Cologne, and EXPO Chicago / Editions + Books (with Devening Projects), 2016; Mies van der Rohe Haus, Berlin, Verein für aktuelle Kunst/Ruhrgebiet e.V., Oberhausen, and Museum Bochum, 2013; Gesellschaft für Kunst und Gestaltung, Bonn, 2012; Kunstmeile Wangen #4, Wangen / Allgäu, 2011; Angle art contemporain, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, F, and Judith Racht Gallery, Harbert, MI, 2010; Galerie oqbo, Berlin, HALLE ZEHN, Cologne, and Northern Illinois University Art Museum, DeKalb, IL, 2009; Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum, Hagen, 2005 and 2004; Hunter College / Times Square Gallery, New York, 2003.
In addition to these projects, Dorothee Joachim has exhibited her painting widely since the late seventies. Her work is featured in numerous private and public collections including Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum, Hagen, LVR LandesMuseum, Bonn, and KOLUMBA Museum in Cologne. She lives and works in Cologne.
Christopher Michlig makes work in a wide range of media, including collage, printmaking, sculpture, and film. Michlig’s work has been reviewed and featured in Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, Frieze, New City Art Chicago, among others. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently at 1301 PE, Los Angeles, Nowhere Gallery, Milan, and Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago. Michlig received an MFA from ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California and he is currently Professor of Art and Faculty in Residence at the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon.
Michlig’s recent book File Under: Slime collates a cultural history of “slime” and “sliminess,” with particular emphasis on precedents in pop-culture, contemporary art, ecology, science fiction, literature, critical theory, and cinema. With a foreword by Los Angeles based writer and curator Jan Tumlir, File Under: Slime presents a chronological series of analyses of occurrences of slime, tracking its amorphous and pervasive seepage into the cultural conscience.
Born in New York in 1942, Gary Stephan has been showing his painting, sculpture and photography since the late ’60s in the United States and Europe. He has had solo shows in New York at Susan Inglett Gallery, Bykert Gallery, Mary Boone Gallery, Hirschl and Adler, Baumgartner Gallery and Marlborough Gallery; in Los Angeles at Margo Leavin Gallery and Daniel Weinberg Gallery; in St. Louis at Phillip Slein Gallery; in San Francisco at George Lawson Gallery; and in Berlin at Kienzle Art Foundation; in Wuppertal, Germany, at Groelle pass:project among many others. His group exhibition record is extensive and focused internationally. His work can be found in the collections of The Guggenheim Museum of Art, The Metropolitan and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as museums nationwide. He is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches in the MFA program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and is currently represented by Devening Projects and Kienzle Art Foundation in Berlin. Gary Stephan lives and works in New York City and Stone Ridge, New York.
Caleb Taylor is the recipient of the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant, the Charlotte Street Foundation Fellowship, and residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Joan Mitchell Center, and Ucross Foundation. His paintings and drawings are published in Art in America and New American Painting, and he has exhibited at venues including the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Grand Arts (KC), Weatherspoon Art Museum (NC), and Tiger Strikes Asteroid (NY). Taylor’s work is included in the public collections of the Nerman MoCA, KU Medical Center, and Polsinelli Law Firm (KC). He received a MFA with an emphasis in Painting from Montana State
University-Bozeman and a BFA from Northwest Missouri State University, double-majoring in Painting and Ceramics. He is an Art Instructor at Metropolitan Community College – Longview.
Allison Wade is a visual artist and educator whose practice is material-based, intuitive, and formally focused. She combines ceramics, textiles, wood, and metal into unexpected, often tenuous arrangements that explore the intersection of flatness and form. Wade’s process, which she likens to syntax, is closely aligned with writing. Deploying an idiosyncratic visual language, she explores the structural and formal contingencies of her materials and sculptures. Wade received an MFA from the Fiber and Material Studies Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and holds a BA in English literature from Stanford University. She lives and works in Chicago, where she is an Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Department of Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern University.