An image of Clouds #2

Matthys Gerber

(Netherlands, Australia 1956 – )

Clouds #2

Location
Not on display
Further information

Gerber is one of Australia's most interesting conceptual painters and has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally through the 1980s and 1990s. Gerber takes familiar genres from painting as his subject - realist portraits, romantic landscapes, abstraction - and overloads them to create a saturated and at times surreal version of the same genres. At the same time, Gerber's technical facility and the appeal of his evocative subjects prevents the work from being purely ironic.

Gerber was born in the Netherlands in 1956. He immigrated with his parents to Australia in 1972. Gerber cites his European heritage as being of importance to his painting. From the great European Romantic artists through Surrealism to Richter, Gerber draws on a rich vein of references. He also cites Warhol and his use of ready-made pop culture subjects for art, as a major influence.

These cloud paintings are key works in Gerber's oeuvre, marking the transition point in his practice from hyper-realist painting to abstraction. They also relate to a series of Rorschach paintings and paper cut outs he did prior to these paintings, psychoanalysing the viewer's predisposition to create associations with the subject matter of painting. Whereas 'Clouds #1' is more abstract; the billowing, fleshy forms of 'Clouds #2' suggest human faces and bodily orifices in both a humourous and surreal play on our habit of reading things into the forms that clouds take.

Gerber's 'Clouds' recall the history of romanticism from Wordsworth's "I wandered lonely as a cloud" through Constable's cloud studies. However, they also recall the kitsch 70s posters for the bedroom walls of bonged-out teens. There is something about clouds, which like sunsets, are almost possible to take seriously as a subject for art. And yet here they are: lush, billowing, romantic, oscillating between being painfully kitsch and evocatively sublime.

Year
1995
Media
Painting
Medium
oil on polyester
Dimensions
300.0 x 189.0 cm
Signature & date

Signed l.r., oil "Gerber". Not dated.

Credit
Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales Contempo Group 2001
Accession number
362.2001.2
Copyright
© Matthys Gerber