Since her discovery and distinction with the prize at art Karlsruhe 2013, Jessica Buhlmann has been broadening her painterly cosmos. Stemming from portraits, she developed her both rich and disentangling imagery for a geometry of colors. For Art Week 2018, she is setting a new, sculptural milestone with colorful objects and installations.
Buhlmann comes from an artistic family in which music and visual design were omnipresent. She grew up in the middle of a ceramic studio. Key insights from a close entanglement of handicraft and conception are rooted in this early encounter with sculpturing, like that a malleable form is not just placed in a room, but already mixed, kneaded, and modelled into the room, or that color doesn’t simply decorate the surface, but can make the soul of the construction appear. Now when Buhlmann brings together objets trouvés with subtle, plain color pigments, she falls back on hard, brittle wood instead of malleable clay or pliable metal and consciously relies on the resistance of the material.
In an interview, she states: “At the beginning of my work, I don’t know how it will look – and I don’t want to know.” Henri Matisse, with regard to his own search for the right form, traced back this radicalism, which can initially sound disconcerting, to the artist not being able to extract his or her own language from the traditional vocabulary without simply producing defunct copies: “I need to find symbols, symbols that don’t interfere with my reverie.”
Buhlmann performs her explorations in the dense material and, at the same time, leads observers out into the open: her works come across as a fresh bouquet, a bouquet of shapes, points of view, and perspectives, as we encounter them every day, mostly without noticing them – it is the artist who makes them visible. Out of pure coincidence, she arranges an encounter, something that exists here and there, but is merged together as necessary. With black and white shapes, her cut outs bring the aroma of the colors into play, make the impenetrable burden of a transparency prevailing, or conversely make the filigree on solids perceptive with delicate color surfaces.