I’m Red, She’s Yellow, We’re Blue
Many artists have been drawn to pushing the boundaries and the definition of painting. It was an undertaking central to modern art and remains a reoccurring concern for contemporary artists.
Thilo Heinzmann is one such artist who has taken up this exploration with the determined aim of making new, never seen before paintings. Certainly his work incorporates unorthodox, new and distinctly unique materials. Beginning with the use of Styrofoam in the 1990s, he has employed materials as diverse as aluminium construction panels, crystals, cotton wool, animal skins, and hessian.
Importantly, what makes Heinzmann's work distinctive, apart from the materials, is its ambition for a kind of universalism: the creation of a language that moves beyond specific or familiar terms of reference to ones which are both fundamental and pan-historic. Fundamental in the way he reconstructs the elements of painting from its bare essentials. Pan-historic in the sense that Heinzmann's work, directly or indirectly, has an awareness of painting from different time periods and cultures, be that pre-Columbian feather painting, pre-historical cave painting, medieval egg tempera, as well as the more expected touchstones such as Klein, Fontana and Palermo.
However, Heinzmann keeps all this knowledge and intellectuality firmly in abeyance. He allows his paintings to speak with their own voice - one that is certainly essentialist and minimal yet emotional and joyous too. These new paintings are almost monochromes - white cotton wool on white grounds. The cotton wool is composed in such a way as to be sensuous and tantalisingly cloud-like. Delicately settled among these teased, soft mounds are crystal fragments that give hard precise moments of colour and reflected light, a contrast so perfect it is bordering on the sublime.