Smoke Signals / Rauchzeichen
Galerie Sturm – Nürnberg, DE
March 10 – April 17, 2016
Like clouds passing through an empty sky or the flickering images on a white cinema screen, Micha Patiniott’s “Smoke Signals” deal with the ever-changing nature of form, versus the stillness of the empty canvas. According to Patiniott, any meaning found through form is bound to be transitory and elusive. The human mind may regard this loss of meaning absurd and terrifying – but may also feel attracted to it, as to a freeing space of open-endedness.
The apparent subject is often the sensory aspect of (the) painting(s). Human figures and anthropomorphised objects can be seen to investigate their surroundings and each other, by means of touch and sight. The figurative happily swirls towards abstraction and vice-versa. Patiniott shows how formal elements – material, composition, shadow, light, shape, and format – induce relationships that either prove or debunk an image’s representational and illusionary meaning. Also on a narrative level, the content of the images vibrates between different possibilities, often opposing ones. Laced with humour, playfulness and sometimes barely concealed violence, the works declare ‘all that is, can always be different.’
’Visual motifs recur, sometimes in the same context or even as a duplicate – for example in the work “Incredulity” (2013), where a digital drawing functions as a slightly altered double, next to a painting of the same scene, executed in oil on canvas. The repetition of motives that spans the body of work include the empty background, the lamp, the eye, the hand, and the ink-loaded brush or pen. A predominant motive is that of the canvas / picture-frame. Many paintings behave like nested dolls: their content seems self-aware of being a painting, and thus depicts itself within itself. This happens both formally, by playing with grids and frames-within-frames as a structuring device, and narratively, by depicting human-like canvasses that are engrossed in cartoonesque scenes.