Dolby Chadwick Gallery is honored to announce “Beyond,” a solo exhibition featuring the art of Udo Nöger. Nöger works in a minimalist tradition, reducing everything he does “to a point where there is no more, no less”—a statement that captures the delicate balance anchoring his pared-down aesthetic. This quest toward a conscientious reduction of visual information, however, plays a supporting role in the artist’s primary cause: light.
“Every painter from the fifteenth century to today paints light,” Nöger explains. “That’s what the craft is all about.” But rather than covering his canvases with layers of light color upon dark color to approximate the effect of light—the path a painter typically follows—Nöger instead sets out to directly harness light as a material. He does so by investigating the space underneath the canvas, by reaching beyond the surface to mine new possibilities and activate an endless range of meanings. Through his singular approach and unique suite of mediums, Nöger is “able to ‘set the surface free’ to get the purest and most absolute light possible.” The resulting works draw the viewer in in extraordinary and unexpected ways; their muted, neutral palettes and simple, often circular forms induce a calming effect while their internal luminosity invigorates the senses and introduces an air of mystery.
Although the abstract forms, tonal qualities, and an emphasis on simplicity that characterize Nöger’s most recent body of work echo post-war Minimalism, Nöger forms a closer alliance with artists who were part of the Italian arte povera movement. Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni, for example, were preoccupied by the canvas itself and its seemingly endless potential. This emphasis on materiality beyond the artist’s traditional toolkit, enthusiasm for approaches that sidestep established practices of art-making, and interest in the ontology of painting are closely aligned with Nöger’s own sensibilities and goals as an artist.
The product of relentless experimentation and a commitment to pushing boundaries, Nöger’s art is full of puzzles—even paradoxes—that flirt with contradiction while always achieving harmony. The works are magical, but also scientific; abstract, but also biomorphic; ethereal, but also sculptural. The optical play stimulated by their innovative construction—as exemplified by the mesmerizing Weight of Light 6 (2014)—draws viewers in while at the same time requiring them to step back, refocus, and reconsider.
Udo Nöger was born in 1961 in Enger/Westfalen, Germany. He has lived and traveled all over the world and currently maintains studios in San Diego, California; Miami, Florida; and Geneva, Switzerland. Nöger’s art has been exhibited extensively across the United States and Europe and can be found in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany, among others. This will be his first exhibition with the Dolby Chadwick Gallery.