Bruce Silverstein is pleased to present the gallery’s first show of the German artist Max Neumann. Neumann (b.1949) has exhibited extensively abroad over the past thirty years, but this marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York. Featuring new large-scale paintings as well as a selection of over-painted found photographs, this show presents a rare opportunity to see an extensive group of works by an artist who has been the subject of over 150 solo exhibitions since the mid 1970s.
Neumann, a painter, has constructed a visual vocabulary borne from varied and innumerable sources, including picture magazines, newspapers, and other media. His work draws from memory—dreamlike fragmented recollections reduced to the outline, shape and shadow of the original. While he concentrates primarily on the subject / form of the human figure, his paintings of heads and standing men are nearly always faceless—anonymous isolated silhouettes that the viewer fills with meaning. Nearly always painted entirely black (only this year did the artist introduce bright red, green and blue color to his opaque figures), these heads and bodies are a leitmotif of his work, a subject that carries tremendous weight despite their spare detail and placement in a rootless space. As the artist prefers not to divulge his inspiration and source material, it is difficult to articulate a definitive meaning or give easy explanation of these images; rather, Neumann leaves the viewer to fill in the gaps, to add details, and to construct imaginary narratives, as his images exist outside of time or place. With their bareness, Neumann’s paintings possess an emotive power, and an ineffable psychological drama that is remarkably real, yet entirely inferred.
Max Neumann lives and works in Berlin. His works are in numerous public and private collections worldwide, including the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; The Museum Folkwag, Essen; Museo de Bellas Artes, Oviedo; Hamburger Kunsthalle; Fondation Maeght, St. Paul de Vence; and the Seibu Museum, Tokyo.