Robin Mason

Constellation : Konstellation, 2.02 – 2.03.2018

4Robin Mason, Over the Border, 2017, velvet robe, acrylic on wood, 38 x 300 cm

 

9Robin Mason, Collection, 2018, acrylic on paper, approx. 650 x 320 cm

 

10Robin Mason, Collection, 2018, acrylic on paper, approx. 650 x 320 cm

 

3 (2)Robin Mason, Threshold, 2017, acrylic on paper, 175 x 240 cm (detail)

 

13Robin Mason, Threshold, 2017, acrylic on paper, 175 x 240 cm

 

14Robin Mason, Black Forest Lake, 2017, acrylic on paper, four wineglasses, 65 x 42 x 15 cm

 

15Robin Mason, After Elsenheimer, 2018, acrylic on wood, acrylic on paper mirror, 40 x 30 cm and Constellation, 2017, acrylic on wood, 30 cm in diameter

 

17Robin Mason, After Elsenheimer, 2018, acrylic on wood, acrylic on paper mirror, 40 x 30 cm and Constellation, 2017, acrylic on wood, 30 cm in diameter

 

19Robin Mason, Constellation, 2017, acrylic on wood, 30 cm in diameter

Robin Mason

Constellation : Konstellation, 2.02 – 2.03.2018

 

4 (1)Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

5 (1)Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

1 (4)Robin Mason, Collection, acrylic on paper, approx. 650 x 320 cm

 

2 (4)Robin Mason, Threshold, 2017, acrylic on paper, 175 x 240 cm and Black Forest Lake, 2017, acrylic on paper, four wineglasses, 65 x 42 x 15 cm

 

4 (2)Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

3 (1)Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

2 (1)Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

1 (1)Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

As so often with Robin Mason’s work, what first strikes the unaware visitor is its sheer exuberance. The busy installation of works on paper, drawings, paintings and sculpture that is made specifically for GiG Munich, is no different. We enter to a riot of colour, where vibrant oranges, acid yellows, baby pinks and sky blues all vie for our attention. Where there is no colour, a mass of lines takes over, forming waves and swirly patterns – dots and dashes cover any spare surface. Anthropomorphic forms rise up from the ground and grow through and between other forms, twisting around open books or vignettes that give us little views to somewhere else, tree covered landscapes, doorways, windows, more flowers and plants. Pierced by arrows or covered by cloth these forms have an erotic language of their own, some phallic, some clearly female in their appearance. Just when it seems we are able to find some familiar ground, the scale shifts suddenly. Large forms become small and things far away, close by. We find the night sky, reduced in its vastness, low down on the floor, its image only visible from behind and in a mirror.

The work’s exuberance is combined with so many references that it is easy to lose track. Some of these, like those to kitschy Bavarian souvenirs or to the Isenheim Alterpiece, would be familiar to a German audience, others are known to the artist only. Speaking to Mason one hears stories of earlier trips to Germany, of towns visited because of a book once read, of the disappointment of finding the Black Forest, not black but green, and of glasses, all four from a set, that belonged to his parents. The direct reference for the show is the 1609 painting Flight to Egypt by Adam Elsheimer, considered to be the first accurate depiction of the night sky in the Renaissance period.

Hovering above the exhibition is what could be seen as the eye of God and this is perhaps our entry point into the work. For God here, despite the numerous references to North European Christianity, is a Dionysian God, presiding over a world of the will to power, a world of forces and affects, and of the various powers that make up Life. That libidinal drives, both positive and negative, are at work in Mason’s practice is a fact acknowledged by other commentators, who noted that the pleasure apparent in Mason’s paintings tends to give way to feelings of anxiety and dread. I would say that in this exhibition, we enter a sphere in which each element casts influence on another, again positive and negative.   But the trick that Mason conveys so well is of affirmation. As Spinoza, Nietzsche and Deleuze have shown, to affirm brings joy and joy brings us closer to God. In this way, the “constellation” of the title stands for as much the night sky as for the crown of stars, the Corona Borealis, which Dionysus gifted Ariadne and tossed into the heavens.

Magdalena Wisniowska 2018

Constellation Saaltext1

Robin Mason

Constellation : Konstellation, 2.02.2018

 

Constellation front

 

Eröffnung: Freitag 2. Februar, 18- 21 Uhr

Ausstellungsdauer: 2. Februar – 2. März 2018

Öffnungszeiten: Dienstag – Donnerstag, 15 – 18 Uhr

Bitte nach Vereinbarung unter contact@gig-munich.com

Finissage: Freitag 2. März 2018, 19 – 21 Uhr

 


 

GiG is delighted to be the first gallery in Munich to present the work of British painter, Robin Mason.

Robin Mason (br. 1958, Porthcawl, Wales) is best known for his transcriptive work, with unyielding obsession centred on a few key art historical pieces, most notably by Böcklin and Grünewald. Over the course of his long career he continually revisited these works, spurred on by the intensity of his first encounter with them. His painting practice can be understood as a response to the conflicting impulses he discovered when meditating on their allure, a secret place where religion is bound with erotic iconographic symbols, and pleasure with anxiety and dread. In his own paintings, so exuberant in their attention to detail and graphic design, the humour and charm of the imagery is kept in check by the darkness of their references. Stylistically, his paintings owe as much to Carol Durham as to Magritte.

For his show at GiG Munich Robin Mason has produced a new body of work. In his painting installation Constellation : Konstellation, he seeks to reclaim the fear and excitement of his 1968 childhood trip across Germany. The motive for this particular journey into past experiences is the night sky with its constellation of stars, first accurately depicted in 1609 by Adam Elsheimer in his painting, Flight to Egypt.