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Investigating White

On View September 7 - October 26, 2019

‘Investigating White’ is a special exhibition of paintings by the late German painter Raimund Girke, an influential figure at the forefront of the Analytical Painting movement who was known for his investigations of the color white.


In the late 1950s Girke belonged to a generation of young European artists who overcame the subjectivism of Abstract Expressionism and searched for new ways of painting. Girke left behind traditional composition and instead concentrated on "writing" color onto his canvases, painting something which he called his "signature". Girke also reduced the colors from his paintings to a white accompanied with blue and brown tones. These formative qualities have always characterized his paintings as his brushstrokes came into their own with increasing dynamism and force.


In Girke’s paintings white is not a static thing, it is constantly moving and changing. White is as elusive as it is beautiful. White is emptiness, non-materiality, quietness, stillness. It is the subject and the spirit of Raimund Girke’s paintings. Rather than being restricted by his monochromatic palette, he demonstrates it as an entire world in itself, a world which can be explored and expanded. In this infinite universe of complexity and subtlety, he searches for classical order. Girke explores white as a color rather than a concept. He continues the tradition of Tafelmalerei, a historical term for Classical and Renaissance painters who were concerned with order, color, and light.


These paintings demonstrate the fruitful results of his lifelong passion for analyzing color layering, color movement, and structure. The dynamically arranged surfaces of his paintings play with certain principles, such as parallel layers of color in individual strokes of paint, and mesh-like serial structures. The disciplined serenity and material of the paint is evident. He is an analytical painter in that his paintings are about the fundamental structures of color and light, all contained in the color white. White flows in and out of his paintings, present but never determined.

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