When you look at the art of Thilo Heinzmann, you see first the assertive presence of materials-as-media – in this case, variously, pigment, broken sections of Styropor, unctuous and glossy nail polish – which address the tactile sense as much as the visual sense.
Such is the immediacy of this sensation, that the process of looking becomes simultaneously the illusion of touching and feeling. The viewer sees, for instance, a rhomboid-like section of Styropor, its pristine molecular surface scarred and lacerated with splatters and trails of corrosively chemical nail polish. In looking, the viewer senses the sharp acidic edge of the nail polish seeming to burn through the flat dry smooth surface of the white Styropor. Our visual experience of these media intuits what might be a chemical-industrial process – as sharp-edged and intent as the harsh staccato cut of early punk chords, from WIRE to Television.
Thilo Heinzmann has developed a painting process in which the picture plane becomes the clinically sealed venue of fetish tactility – creating contrasts of media that are both richly sensory and descriptive of conceptual and visual disruption. In his new paintings, these processes have been both intensified and refined – allowing the paintings to become increasingly autonomous, inscrutable, romantic and strange.
Flares, drifts, dust storms and novas of pigment achieve patterns of astronomical grandeur: galaxies and meteorite showers and illusory black holes. From within the choreography of this seeming momentum there are now, emerging from a once dark, monochromatic palette, hues and seepages and shades of rich color: burnt red, moss green, midnight blue – colors reminiscent of pre-Raphaelite medievalism as much as mineralogical specimens. These colors also appear to merge and interplay, bringing to mind the living color within the surfaces of Impressionism – the seeming shimmer and blinking of light and color like breeze through blossom, from lilac to orange to blue to grey.
The paintings of Thilo Heinzmann are at once intuitive and absorbed in the tightness of aesthetic constraint: at once romantic and attuned to modern industrialism, engineering and manufacture. From such hybridization of intent derives their strange ecstasy and their moments of sensory epiphany – a point at which the eroticism of aesthetic science becomes stripped down and chemical: volatility stilled.
Los Angeles, 2013