Arratia Beer presents Wärme, the first solo exhibition of Anna Virnich in the gallery.
For Wärme, the artist employs a diverse array of textiles to create large and medium format wall works. The starting point of Virnich’s work is the frame, which is reduced by the removal of its cross. Furthermore, the artist does away with paint altogether. The colors and shapes that make up the enthralling, abstract compositions are created by the textiles she collects and transforms through various processes. Whether silk, polyester, leather, lace, tulle or satin, the fabrics are both new and used, sometimes exposed to the weather, bleached or oiled before being stretched and sewn by the artist.
Through the multi-layering of different textures and the physicality of the fabrics themselves, Virnich’s almost painterly works oscillate between density and transparency, roughness and fragility.
Virnich is also interested in the olfactory characteristics of textiles. She adds sweat and perfume, or uses fragrant materials such as untreated leather to make the exceptionally physical aspect of fabrics perceptible. The inseparable connection between fabrics and the human skin is evident in her finished works: for example, the leather from which the series “Leather” (2017) was created, shows injuries, abrasions and stitches. For each item of work, the skins of two calves were sewn together, pulled onto stretcher frames and stretched to the utmost. Seams and wax attest to the artist’s treatment: they delineate surfaces, highlight the subtle differences in nuance, and finally illustrate the painterly quality of the skins.
Virnich’s work plays with sharp contrasts and polarities. She superimposes over the thinnest of fabrics and the thickest of skins. Her multisensorial expansive canvases yield works of meticulous finesse as well as a quality of brutality, reflected in the stretching, stitching, rubbing and dripping of hot beeswax on the delicate leather.
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