Nino Mier Gallery is pleased to present Eyes Upon…., an exhibition of paintings by Austrian born and Los Angeles based artist Hubert Schmalix. A series of new figurative, landscape, and still life paintings comprise the exhibition. The artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery,
The works in Eyes Upon…. are charged with an emotional ambivalence between the paradisical and the melancholy. In Eyes Upon…., Schmalix situates the viewer in an off-kilter Arcadia. Experimenting with traditional subjects of painting, his figures recall the robed men of classical antiquity, while his landscapes conjure the darker side of once-bucolic scenes.
Common motifs in Schmalix’s landscapes include: wood cabins, rock-lined rivers, undulating waves, abundant foliage, and dense arrangements of flowers. The constituent parts of an alpine utopia are in place, but are rendered in color schemes that shoot the scenes through with enigma. A devout colorist, Schmalix favors deep, heavy colors like royal purple, russet, navy—tones that converse on the canvases with authority. Furthermore, Schmalix’s figures tend towards the isolated, forlorn, and aging. They emerge with minimal adornments before abstract fields of pure color.
In Schmalix’s paintings, the human remains largely isolated from the natural world. Large-scale paintings depict bearded men before opaque color fields, amplifying their emotional tenor. Save for a stray leaf or branch within the figurative paintings, humanity and the landscape are relegated to their own compositions. Division becomes not only a thematic, but also a formal motif in Eyes Upon….: figural and natural forms alike are contoured with stark, exacting outlines that separate mostly monochromatic sections of color.
Color is a prime subject of Schmalix’s practice, occupying a status as central form and content. Despite the many deeper, darker hues present in the works in Eyes Upon…., the paintings teem with light. “I’m not a painter who paints the light. I create light through color. This is what defines painting,” describes Schmalix, “One could also say I produce a light that does not exist in reality.”