ELSEWHERE provincial perspectives

 
 
September 8 - 30, 2017
Opening reception: September 8, 6-8pm
 
 
 
 


The exhibition ‘ELSEWHERE provincial perspectives’ puts the periphery center stage and invites a view behind the scenes of lustrous cultural representation. In thirteen large-format paintings in sober contrast to the Goethe Institute’s opulent décor, Cambridge-based painter Wilhelm Neusser celebrates the melancholic beauty of the so-called province. 

Berlin’s the place, no question! It may be poor, but it is definitely sexy! Here big politics and high culture are made. Berlin attracts those who want to feel the pulse of the times. An avant-garde fights here unafraid of the future.

Province is always ‘elsewhere,’ far away from the capital. Here buses run less regularly, doctors practice in the next largest town, and the local library is managed by volunteers in their mid-seventies who have trouble with the online catalog.

While the big city never sleeps the province is thought to be sleepy, depressed and left behind. Whoever wants to make it moves to Berlin. Whoever has made it though can survive in the province. Pitied as the home of those who have always lived there, those who move there praise it as idyllic. Whether as origin or as refuge ‘elsewhere’ defines us.

The exhibition ‘ELSEWHERE provincial perspectives’ puts the periphery center stage, questioning prevailing perceptions of the province. Thirteen large-format paintings made for the Boston Goethe Institute open up perspectives on a landscape whose spectacular quality is their melancholy. In sober contrast to the opulent Chippendale décor, the paintings celebrate the unique character of areas that appear on every map, yet are rarely the focus of our attention. 

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Residency at MASS MoCA

Very much looking forward to beeing part of MASS MoCA's residency program in June 2017. The Studios at MASS MoCA provide residences for artists and writers, hosted by MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program. During the residency at MASS MoCA I will work towards an upcoming show, opening at the Goethe Institue Boston in September 2017.

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is located in North Adams in Western Mass. Learn more about MASS MoCA here

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In his installation TAL at the Lunder Center’s Spotlight Gallery, German-born painter Wilhelm Neusser invites us to walk through a landscape located between past and present. An array of paintings encourages our eye to wander and visually map numerous terrains. Embedded in dark green, evoking a 19century salon, the landscapes unfold their painterly topographies. The installation’s title, TAL – the German word for valley, also hints at the different points of view from which the installation can be experienced, either as a panorama from the Atrium’s balcony or up close on the lower level. While TAL assembles multiple outlooks, the large canvas “Bonjour” merges similar aspects in a single scene. Noticing first the encounter of two hikers – quotations from Gustave Courbet and Carl Phillip Fohr – our eye is then drawn into a wide landscape, paraphrasing the golden light of 19century Romanticism. In contrast to the idyllic motif, the rough painterly treatment and palette evoke melancholy, thereby questioning the idea of an ideal landscape.
 
In Neusser’s work the specific industrial and agricultural character of the Western German countryside stands in for a notion of landscape in which disappearance and development, nostalgia and progress go hand-in-hand. The area is flat; the sun sets behind power plants behind endless fields of sugar beets. Due to the expansion of strip mines in what is Europe’s largest coal reserve, the land’s surface is constantly transformed. In sharp contrast to such an aggressive and ‘real’ transformation of an actual landscape, the tradition of 19century German landscape painting favored an ideal scene, one ‘frozen’ in time in glowing sunlight. Late Romanticism produced stunning vistas carefully constructed in order to stabilize and domesticize the direct experience of nature. These landscapes purposefully and playfully obscured the brutality of the wilderness and the nascent threat of the industrial revolution, praising instead an eternal sublime.
 

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In summer 2016 the amazing Jim Kiely​ conducted an interview with me in my studio. I am thrilled to see our conversation published in one of New England's leading art magazines, Big Red & Shiny​. Jim Kiely is a writer, jazz enthusiast, proponent of local artists and co-owner of 13Forest Gallery. Read the full Interview here.

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Focus Albrecht Dürer

Fall Semester 2015. Harvard's German CA course visited the Art Study Center at the Harvard Art Museums focusing on Albrecht Dürer's prints including his three most famous engravings Knight, Death and the Devil, St. Jerome in his Study and Melencolia I alongside woodcuts and etchings by Max Beckmann, Lovis Corinth and Erich Heckel. What a great experience!

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A.R.T. Fellowship for Vermont Studio Center

For July 2015 Wilhelm Neusser receives a fellowship for the Vermont Studio Center, an international artist residency in Johnson, Vermont. Funding is provided by the ARTIST’S RESOURCE TRUST, Massachusetts.

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Prints 2013

Neusser's works on paper are hybrids combining different technical strategies, including transfer drawing, monoprint, and silkscreen. The setup is intentionally low tech. Aiming for the beauty in imperfection, his aesthetic playfully questions notions of craftsmanship. Selected work is offerd by one of Boston's finest frame galleries, Adjective Art and Framing.

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Publications and Catalogs

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Prints 2010

Saint Louis based print work shop All Allong Press is editioning prints by Wilhelm Neusser.

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