Gether Contemporary is proud to present 2gether, the first duo exhibition by the Italian artist Gioele Amaro (b. 1986) and the German artist Jochen Mühlenbrink (b. 1980). 2gether is an exhibition that explores and challenges our immediate perception and expectation of painting as an object and and as a phenomenon. The works of Jochen Mühlenbrink and Gioele Amaro revolve around a common interest in the complexity of painting and materials, in which they both explore the boundary between physical presence and fleeting illusion in the interplay of transparency and opacity.
In 2gether we meet Gioele Amaro and Jochen Mühlenbrink in their common field of interest between digitally manipulated print and traditional painting. The glossy abstract paintings by Gioele Amaro appear to be illusionist oil paintings, but are in fact digitally painted, printed on canvas and carefully reworked by applying several coats of varnish. In this way, he creates distorted projections that both fascinate and confuse the viewers in their encounter with the work. Jochen Mühlenbrink’s technical approach is almost the opposite of Gioele Amaro’s; Mühlenbrink works with Trompe l’oeil techniques, in which he playfully asks the viewer to distinguish between a painted and a real object. His realistic paintings could pass for photographs, but are in fact carefully hand-painted with oil paint.
In this exhibition, Gioele presents a new series of works, in which each painting is a paraphrase of an iconic work from art history. Each iconic work is transformed and processed until the painting finds itself somewhere between abstraction and recognizability. His reinterpretations of familiar motifs point to an image culture in which filters, infinite layers of mediation and rapid exchange and circulation of images is a core condition. Amaro’s paintings can be described as anamorphic illusions - distorted images, which seen from the right oblique angle suddenly appear “correct”. But for Amaro, there is no correct way of looking at painting - on the contrary, he is preoccupied with the very fact that images and objects are constantly changing and depend on our gaze. The same applies to Jochen Mühlenbrink’s window paintings, which at first glance may appear simple, but similarly thematize a contemporary blurring of the distinction between appearance and fact, surface and depth. Mühlenbrink’s paintings play with the viewers expectation - what we see, what we think we see, and what we see because we expect to see it. The misty window paintings exist both through the illusion they create and the material they consist of. After the deception of the eye follows the soul-searching - what is reality and what is deception?
Both Mühlenbrink and Amaro draw upon the New York school of abstract expressionism, the so-called ‘color field’ painters. The two artists master the emotional energy of colors in evocative compositions, but unlike the color-field painters they do not completely write off figuration, which constantly lurks beneath the surface. Where the color-field generation sought to detach color and expression from any connection to objects and contexts, instead focusing on the flatness of the painting and the color itself, the works of Gioele Amaro and Jochen Mühlenbrink retain its connection to the figurative and illusionist traditions of painting.
Gioele Amaro was born in Italy, lives and works in Paris. He is a trained architect, and worked with renowned architect Jean Nouvel. He has participated in several major international exhibitions at Reinhard Hauff, Stuttgart, Balice Hertling, Paris, Almine Rech, Brussels, High Art, Paris, Cuturi Gallery, Singapore and Galerie Untilthen, Paris. His works can be found in various private and public collections.
Jochen Mühlenbrink lives and works in Düsseldorf and Oldenburg, Germany. He began his studies in 2001 at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts and graduated in 2007 as an MA student at Markus Lüpertz. Since then, his works have been shown in numerous exhibitions both in Germany and abroad, this includes: Kunstmuseum Solingen, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, KIT, Düsseldorf, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Morat-Institut, Freiburg, Osthaus Museum Hagen, Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen and Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam. His works can be found in various private and public collections, including: G2 Kunsthalle, Leipzig, Stadtmuseum Oldenburg, Deutsche Bundesbank, NATIONAL-BANK, SCHUNCK Museum, Heerlen or De Groen Fine Art Collection, Arnhem. His seventh monograph, JM, was published by Kettler Verlag in 2020