In today’s Studio Sunday, let’s look inside the studio of Markus Oehlen! Oehlen is a German painter who rose to prominence in the 1980s as a part of the Neue Wild movement, a movement that favoured an energetic punk style that was opposed to minimalism.
The above photo of Markus’ studio space offers a few hints about the artist’s practice. In the large pile-up of paintings against the wall I can see at least one that is simply an image outlined in blue. Perhaps Oehlen begins his paintings in blue pencil or a thin line of blue paint. Given the intricacy of his images this seems obvious, however the way his paintings also appear layered makes this an interesting possible technique. Oehlen doesn’t seem to be too precious about his works in progress, and has them stacked up against the wall in a rather disorganized fashion. There are even a few un-stretched canvases on the floor.
Speaking of the floor, it’s a rather visually interesting shade of blue! I wonder if that blue floor has any practical use - perhaps it’s better for viewing the contrasting colours in the artist’s paintings. It also looks like Oehlen’s studio gets a lot of natural light, judging from the sunlight streaming in on the right hand side of the room in the photo.
As Oehlen’s practice has evolved he’s looked more and more into an Op Art style, painting with acrylics in such a way as to trick the mind, mimicking collaged, bright colours and layered imagery that looks as if it has been manipulated through computer methods. He combines the aesthetics of computer-generated imagery and traditional painting in a way that is similar to, yet distinct from that of contemporary artists such as Michiel Van Der Zanden.