3 December 2020 – 16 January 2021
CHELSEA MANHATTAN -- In his third solo show with 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, Danish artist Per Adolfsen presents 33 recent landscape drawings in graphite and colored pencil mounted on natural maple wood panels.
The works are the product of Adolfsen’s abiding interest in keeping his artistic practice grounded in the fundamental relationship of eye, mind, and hand, without reliance on technologies and tools more modern than those used by the Old Masters and their disciples through the centuries.
Adolfsen describes his process thus: “Very simple: a man, a pencil and a piece of paper. I go out into my environment every day. I study it and I draw what I see. The sky, the trees, the sea.” He thereby hopes to sink into a communion with nature that reveals otherwise veiled aspects of its being. “I feel that it gives way to a deeper understanding of the way the world is constituted,” he comments. “I study interconnections on different levels. How nature is constituted. How the interconnections for life, death and growth are constituted.”
While mostly naturalistic at first glance, some of Adolfsen’s drawings veer toward an almost Fauve exuberance in their use of color, as seen, for example, in the densely rendered, primary-blue clouds of Dunes by the West Coast.
Within all of these drawings, Adolfsen constructs rocks, trees, hills, clouds, and water with tightly controlled arrangements of contour lines and hatches deployed with almost Cézanne-like precision, giving these forms a solidity that sometimes belies their actual flatness. Often these elements come together in ways that are both whimsical and profound, as in By the Canal, where four rocks in almost outlandish tones of orange and magenta nestle within in a pile of stones rendered in more mundane terrestrial shades of black and brown. The hints of a deeper life that Adolfsen is seeking within the phenomena nature is perhaps revealed best in these moments.
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