Vernissage and Artist Talk: Cornelia Thomsen – The Collective Self (April 4)

Headshot of Cornelia Thomsen

Headshot of Cornelia Thomsen, © Cornelia Thomsen

31.03.2022 - Article

Each of Thomsen’s series on display, from the abstract Stripes and Structures compositions, to the recent Anna portraits, meditate on a distinct moment in a complex professional, psychological, and political journey.

Composed of vertical lines that vary in color and width, the Stripes paintings are executed freehand on canvases that seem hard-edged at a distance, yet upon closer viewing reveal subtle tonal gradations. Their warmth evokes nostalgic memories of outdoor scenes, reflecting a sensitivity toward nature inspired by the blue mountains of Thomsen’s childhood and the ocean waters of her adult life -- but her upbringing behind the closed borders of a totalitarian police state also finds expression here. Thomsen applies lines to her Stripes canvases horizontally, in keeping with their remote origins in landscape, but once completed they’re displayed vertically, eliminating any hint of literal representation. The finished works can thus seem to confront the viewer with symbolic walls or prison bars, expressing a tension between calm and repression that, despite superficial similarities, challenges the cool optimism of earlier American linear abstraction.

Enjoy the exhibition and join the German Consulate General New York, Deutsches Haus at NYU, and 1014 for an introduction of Cornelia Thomsen’s paintings by curator Venetia Kapernekas.

About the artist:

Cornelia Thomsen was born 1970 in Rudolstadt in former East Germany. Recognized for her artistic skills from an early age, she was selected to be a student at the prestigious school of the Meissen Porcelain Factory. When the wall between East and West was razed in 1989, Thomsen weathered the time of ideological and economic collapse through personal reinvention. She enjoyed the freedom of travel for the first time, and her world was liberated by the discovery of abstract art, which was completely suppressed in East Germany as a capitalist construct. Thomsen enrolled and received BA and MFA degrees in the University of Art and Design in Offenbach, Germany, where her thesis marked the beginning of her investigation of abstract Stripes and led to her Role Models series, a realistic and robust examination of the East German political leaders. In 2006 she moved with her husband and three children from the Frankfurt area to New York.

Location & Time

Monday, April 4, 2022
6:00 PM 8:00 PM EST

1014 5th Avenue New York, NY

Please register here.

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