2008 - 2009
11 x 13 x 12.5 cm
Clay, partially painted
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
Annual members’ gift, Stiftung für konstruktive und konkrete Kunst, 2008
Joanne Greenbaum (born 1953 in New York, USA) creates paintings that are wild and emotional and display a luminous visual presence. Her architectural and geometric line formations and her compositions resembling streets and stairs remind us of floor plans, aerial photos of cities or landscapes, or patterns of urban structures. The artist combines a cool fascination for systems with expressiveness, along with purely formal, playful, and metaphysical elements. She also blends austere constructions or numbers together with organic forms and highly expressive, powerful coloring. Greenbaum’s worlds of colors and forms reveal many direct references to art history – the Russian avant-garde, cubist and abstract painting, American abstraction, and even the aesthetics of comics – which she uses as a basis to develop a distinctive painterly language.
When Joanne Greenbaum began her artistic career, she painted solitary objects and structures, developing different works out of a single motif. Over time, her painting style has become more expressive and energetic. In the 1990s, the artist decided to distance herself from traditions and stereotypes by expanding the language of abstraction and minimalism. As a result, in the late 1990s she developed compositions that were reduced to only a few elements and were sometimes rather bizarre or minimalistic. Around 2000, she began to work with “heavy” elements, many of which can be interpreted as sculptural. These structures, which play with both two- and three-dimensionality, are reminiscent of Constructivist sculptures but with an air of Surrealism. Since 2003, she has been exploring clay sculptures with curved forms and plinths as part of her painterly work.
Over the years, Joanne Greenbaum has developed her own canon of forms and colors in a nervous painting style based on graphic elements. This can best be illustrated by her works from 2006 and 2007, which are equally complex and referentially diverse, as well as dense and rich with content. Their increased complexity and condensed structures stem from curved forms or expressive planes painted with brushes in different sizes superimposed onto several abstract, anecdotal levels and painterly layers with geometric structures and numbers. This lends depth to the pictorial space in which convoluted compositions are built out of elements from Greenbaum’s own painterly encyclopedia.
Dominique von Burg