For THM Paintings, the artist introduces a new series of large-scale works by the same name. THM – Time/History/Memory.
Three paintings boldly pigmented in hues of orange, blue and red line the walls of the gallery in a nod to color-blocking – the process of pairing opposite tones on the color wheel. It is the contradictory or opposing elements, in composition and concept, that give voice to Sonne’s pursuit of the conflicted space within dichotomies that exist all around us. While previous series dealt with mechanical versus manual processes, or states of virtuality versus palpability, the THM series traces the relentless production and consumption of news in our shared state of heightened awareness. As time goes on, histories repeat, and our collective memories converge, the idea that information is bliss breaks down.
Seemingly monochromatic, each surface is formed with a layer of pages from The New York Times. Starting with the front page and continuing on for as many pages as the size of the stretcher allows, Sonne slowly builds up pigment. After weeks of layering paint over the newsprints, the clarity of text and imagery fades and the stories already in our rear-view are all but obliterated. Ghostly shapes and textual remnants are barely visible beneath the surface — chosen words just legible, revealing a vocabulary favored by the artist.
Folds in the paper create slight ridges across each composition. Slowing down to discern what these possible imperfections might be, viewers are met with gestural brushwork, drips and patches of color in a range of tones. A sense of immediacy is achieved in the application of paint, akin to the fleeting news cycle we find ourselves depending on. And yet, Sonne’s process is more contained, gradual even, than in previous works made with a quick burn or aerosol spray-paint. This conflict between materiality and process guides the THM series into a space caught between the human condition and formal properties established by Color Field painting in the 1940s and 1950s. Yesterday’s news is paused, allowing for a brief moment of reflection until the day catches up and we’re onto the next.
Kasper Sonne was born in 1974, in Copenhagen, Denmark, and lives and works in New York. Sonne’s work is included in prominent private and public collections around the world, including HEART – Herning Museum Of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark, Fubon Art Foundation, Taiwan and David Roberts Arts Foundation, London, UK. Recent solo exhibitions include Body Body Head, Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2018); and New Religion, Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark (2016).