Peter Blum Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Erik Lindman entitled Helian at 176 Grand Street, New York. This will be Lindman’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, and will be the first time his paintings, sculptures, and works on paper will be presented together. There will be an opening reception on Friday, November 17 from 6-8pm.
Lindman's artistic practice is defined by his innovative use of found materials such as shards of steel or canvas webbing as central elements in his paintings, allowing the built-up surface to direct the development of the work. The central forms—often avian or humanoid in appearance—emerge from monochromatic fields, creating a dynamic interplay between figure and ground. Never simply placed onto the canvas, these forms are synergistically integrated into the composition, with each shape and contour carefully considered while the thick layers of paint, bodied with shredded rubber and ground glass, add texture and depth to the painting’s topographical surface.
In addition to his paintings, Lindman explores his fascination with materials and form through sculpture and work on paper. His sculptures investigate a sequential series of viewpoints, each dissimilar and separate from the next, providing a three-dimensional counterpart to the layered surfaces of his paintings. Similarly, his works on paper—often drawings of negative space between things that he encounters such as clouds or leaves—serve as an extension of his painting practice where he experiments with light and composition in a more improvisatory manner. In total, Lindman’s open-ended oeuvre invites viewers to both question and reaffirm the distinct possibilities of abstraction for his own generation.
“Helian is the third in a series of exhibitions of painting and sculpture, starting with Parsifal (2019) and continuing with Fal/Parsi (2020), that proposes our current epoch is perhaps more a continuous falling glow of the fireworks of the Romantic era, rather than a placeless historical rupture severed by Modernity."
"This body of work is dedicated to the early twentieth-century Austrian poet Georg Trakl, from whose poem by the same name I've taken my title. Much like my previous work dedicated to the Norwegian painter Peder Balke, my work is not illustrative nor a stylistic homage. My paintings mirror a tone, a quality of spacial silence and visual materiality, that I invoke from the work of these artists."
"When Autumn comes,
A sober clarity enters the grove.
Appeased, we wander along the red walls,
And our wide eyes follow the flight of birds.
At evening white water sinks in the urns."
—Georg Trakl, excerpt from Helian
"[Lindman's] work invites us to explore painting's contradictions and, above all, the continued necessity of the form, particularly as it exists within a world that has in recent decades offered ever more technically inventive ways of producing new two-dimensional imagery."
—Norman Rosenthal, Erik Lindman and the Imperative of the Almost Abstract
"In this stretch of work, paint is bodied with shredded rubber and glass, and the hues are tart. Their central forms are avian, humanoid, slippery and cut out of monochromatic fields."
"His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.”
—Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History, Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn, New York: Schocken Books, 1969: 249.
"Sculptures, here presented as unimposing monuments to haptic experience, mirror the central forms anchored in the paintings’ layers of pigment; embalming found wood, styrofoam and metal in epoxy resin, like old bones holding new ﬂesh."
— Erik Lindman
"Lindman’s sculpture is in many ways an extension of this practice, which has always driven how he has made his paintings. Most fundamentally it is a response to his desire to introduce multiple view-points into his work, an impulse that arose from a reaction to certain of the materials he came across, which he thought might be limited by the singular, two-dimensional plane of painting. Yet, the resulting sculptures very much betray a painterly eye. They present not so much a single, holistic object for our appreciation, but rather a series of sequential viewpoints, each distinct but similar to the others, encouraging our movement around the work so as to compare one to the next. This is provoked by the intimate, bodily scale of the works, which reveal the handling involved in their making, and invite their display in a domestic context, such as on a table top."
—Alex Bacon, Photographs of Sculptures
"I draw a lot. I keep sketchbooks, not in some sort of Artist's Way of a mechanized practice of forced creativity. I just enjoy drawing. Those drawings are not directed towards anything, they’re not necessarily source material for other works, they’re just drawings."
"I don't see the white and blank space as ground. They're often painted on top of and around the form, like a visual plane that's held in the painting. I see the totality as something not quite like a tomb, but a slab. You see a confluence in both the material and the visual form. These paintings, they're arrived at, they're not enlargements of drawings, they're not made from plans."
— Erik Lindman
"Color is a lot of different things. Pigment is a material physically. All of its elements are materials and have signification in and of themselves—not just as signifiers of value in terms of the archival nature of things."
— Erik Lindman
"Beautiful is man, and appearing in darkness,
When astonished he moves his arms and legs,
And his eyes roll silently in their crimson sockets."
—Georg Trakl, excerpt from Helian
Erik Lindman (b. 1985, New York) lives and works in New York. He earned his BA from Columbia University in 2007 and received a Yale Norfolk Painting Fellowship in 2006. Lindman was honored at the Hirshhorn Museum’s Artist x Artist Gala in 2019. He has also received The Louis Sudler Prize for Excellence in the Arts from Columbia University in 2007, as well as an Ellen B. Stoeckel Fellowship for Yale Norfolk School of Art in 2006. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Kunsthalle FriArt Fribourg in Freiburg, Switzerland, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, White Columns in New York, le 109 in Nice, France, Kaviar Factory in Henningsvær, Norway, and Foundation Hippocrène in Paris among others.