Composed primarily of large-scale oil paintings that intuitively recast the interplay of line, color and form, ‘Vertical Vanish’ makes a game of repeated gestures, figures and motifs. Pre-drawn scenes obscurely emerge from the background, only to disappear into impasto fields of imbricated color. Through a series of gestural interventions guided by the artist’s hand—an admixture of drawing, painting and erasure—oil paints, China markers and acrylics are heavily worked onto surfaces of canvas or raw linen.
Oil and acrylic on canvas
195.6 x 167.6 cm / 77 x 66 in
Descending Golden Hour
The lines constituting Ackermann’s figures are lost to near total abstraction; thickly applied washes of paint are scraped away at, giving rise to revelatory compositions. In addition to the larger works, a selection of small, overpainted monotype prints on paper (all dating from 2022) will also be on view. These small paintings occupy a middle distance between the mindful reworking of available materials at hand and the unveiling of hidden motifs.
Sandman’s Dust III
Sandman’s Dust II
Sandman’s Dust I
In works such as ‘Vertical Vanish’ (2022), the painting from which the exhibition’s name derives, underlying figures are overlaid with vivid detonations of color. The materialized afterimage of these colored saturations acts like a veil which seems to environ the viewer while falling just shy of articulating any precise narrative.
The measured intensity by which pigments are worked over communicates the purposeful energy of a spatial calligraphy. Relative to the three erased figures at the foreground of the canvas, the ascending vertical spiral becomes the centerpiece of the painting, preserving the harmony of opposing rhythms.
Black Diamond Bay
Sailing in the Dark
The kind of dynamism Ackermann’s paintings communicate at least partially derives from the sense of urgency that goes into making them. Working on a particular picture may very well involve entering into the uncertain arena of various rescue operations: unforeseeable problems or intended accidents that the artist has to work around or assimilate. – Jeffrey Grunthaner
Van Gogh is Her Boy
Blood on the Dance Floor
About the artist
The opposing impulses of creation and destruction mark the touchstone of the Hungarian-born, New York-based artist Rita Ackermann’s practice, which continues to evolve and manifest itself in the shift from representation to abstraction.
On view in Los Angeles
Rita Ackermann. Vertical Vanish is on view now through 30 April 2023 at Hauser & Wirth Downtown Los Angeles.
Inquire about works by Rita Ackermann.