Paintings, Drawings, and Prints…Oh My!

Josef Albers is quoted to have said that his goal was to open eyes, and after I entered the bright space of the Galerie Berinson where his work is being exhibited in “Paintings, Drawings Prints: Josef Albers (1988-1976)”, it didn’t take long to get swept in by the colors and the shape of the square. At first I saw just plain simple squares, but it took no longer than a minute to want to get closer, explore the color and shape in a more intimate way. In the first room of the exhibit there are a series of painting entitled, “Homage to the Square”, with their year of production, as well as individual titles on certain paintings. Each painting is multi-colored with perfect squares within squares, and most were created in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Eyes Open. Check

Standing in the center of the room with the various sizes and colors, I had the feeling that I had somehow a chance to start anew. Looking at the paintings, life seemed clear and clean to me, a mixture of pallets of colors that somehow gave me inspiration when combined with the centered, predictable, safe, square…somehow opening my eyes. I was especially drawn to the centerpiece, which in the well- lit gallery looked electric, tricking my eyes with its brightness. The piece entitled, Expanding 1954, was in itself a thrilling electrifying memory I can now recall. It was pulsating with intensity, tricking my eyes. A subdued brown color serves as the largest framing square, neighboring the two inner borders, which are rich greens. Finally the eye is drawn to a bright electric blue that I literally thought was pumping with high voltage current! I had to take a closer look at the power of the color. After staring at Expanding for quite some time, and giving my eyes a chance to take the homage of the square in to their brim, I made my way to the second portion of the exhibit, where my brain really starting working.

So Square
While the first room of the exhibit is bright with color, the second half is mainly black and white, housing the drawings and prints of Albers. For me it was clear, that Albers was a regarded teacher within the school of Bauhaus, teaching in both Germany and the USA in his long and highly acclaimed career. As I stood there, Albers was also teaching me with his sketches showcasing the structures of shapes being broken down and taught to us the students, who are able to see the sketches Albers made. It is amazing to see the processes of his work, and there was a particular piece, an engraving on vinyl, that I couldn’t stop staring at, or rather in to…

Josef Albers - "Seclusion" Photo: Josef Albers “Seclusion” 1950er. Courtesy of Galerie Berinson. 

Break it Down
The piece that had somehow caught me in a visual trap is entitled, Seclusion, 1950’s. Located at the top of the wall which showcasing other engraved vinyls and numerous sketches, there was something psychadelic in a way. When looking at Seclusion, I got sucked in! It is a maze alongside the other important pieces of Josef Albers. It is dark, and powerful, and smart, and made me want to learn more from my new favorite teacher. There are other highlights showcased in the second room, all with similar entrapments upon closer inspection. As I made my way back to the first room, in the two room exhibit, I not only felt inspired by the new possibilities I felt from “Homage to the Square,” but I walked away with a better understanding of how Albers broke these lines down into something naturally complex and simple at once. Visiting, “Paintings, Drawings Prints: Josef Albers (1988-1976),” proved to be eventful and succeeded as an eye opening experience, that continued to last long after leaving the Galerie Berinson! 
  • Galerie Berinson Josef Albers – “Paintings, Drawings Prints: Josef Albers (1988-1976)” January 28th – April 14th 2012, Tue- Sat: 11am-6pm