Gunther Forg, German (1952 - )

Gunther Forg was born in Fussen, Germany in 1952. Currently the artist lives and works in Areuse, Switzerland. Gunther Forg is an extraordinarily versatile painter, photographer, graphic artist and sculptor. His presents his exhibitions as total art works, the focused effect of which creates a fascinating "place of art" with an almost sacral atmosphere.

Because monochromatic color fields are an important aspect of Günther Förg's work, it seems natural to consider him a minimalist painter. But examination of the range of his work demonstrates Förg's dual purposes. His mimicry of minimalism is indeed an homage, but it also strives to highlight the failure of modernist ideals.

From a NY Times Article by Ken Johnson:

Gunther Forg, an internationally known German artist who is based in Zurich, makes obliquely grandiose art in a variety of media.

At Christine Burgin, he is presenting a suite of nondescript, blurry, black-and-white photographs of aging modern buildings; three have been made into large, grainy color prints. The pictures were shot in the Czech city of Zlijn, which, according to information provided by the gallery, was planned by Le Corbusier early in the 20th century. Mr. Forg's photo essay thus may be read as a rueful meditation on the demise of Modernism's utopian ideals, although the hazy imagery does not necessarily make such an intention clear.

At Luhring Augustine, Mr. Forg is showing immense, carelessly painted abstractions that play with the standard formal devices of Modernist painting. One extending 31 feet has red stripes on a blue field, calling to mind Barnett Newman; in another equally elephantine picture, loose, allover, washy, white-on-black hatching evokes Cy Twombly. Other grid-, stripe- or field-based works echo Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Ryman or Brice Marden.

There is an empty, generic quality to these pictures. Like the Zlijn photographs, they might constitute a retrospective essay on the passing of heroic Modernism. But unlike the paintings of Peter Halley or Sherrie Levine, to which they seem conceptually related, Mr. Forg's paintings, though theatrically imposing, are devoid of visual or sensual appeal. As with his photographs, they depend on the academically programmed viewer's working to get more out of his art than he seems to put into it.

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