7 to 8 April, 2012

In the Interstices of Life by Thomas Riess

A video titled “Space Trip,” celebrating new works by the Austrian artist Thomas Riess, will be featured as part of AWB’s GAM AstroArt program.  Riess works at the very forefront of the artistic experience, seeking to break the limitations of painting and establish a “dialogue on the phenomenon of reality.”  Visit him on his website and visit this page on the dates mentioned above to watch his new video “In the Interstices of Life.”

The obvious subject of Thomas Riess’ works is the human being.  Or maybe not?  Already by applying the concept of painting its limitations are quickly reached.  It turns out that a definite positioning of the artist is not possible this way, and that also the subject of the figure or the human being does not embrace all that is conveyed by his painting.  The fact alone that an artist occupies himself so vehemently with deep sea divers and astronauts implicates the idea that the viewer is asked to leave familiar ground in order to adjourn into the tenuous relation between perception, reality, and its interpretation.

The space in which Riess’ protagonists move is black or white in most cases.  An endless space within the infinite expanses of the universe.  As a starting point for his deliberations, he uses the dialogue on the phenomenon of reality.

The protagonists of his paintings move in a different system.  They are exposed in a space in which they are not able to survive without protective clothing.  Communication with the outside world is possible, although through the help of technology.  But can one be sure of the reality of information received without direct contact?  Which information does one accept, and which information does one decline?

Phenomenology is a term applicable here, defined as perception as a mental concept in contrast to the thing in itself (as used by Kant in natural philosophy).  Yet, it implies that the error (the appearance) must be disclosed in order to gain access to the truth, but also that the appearance sometimes becomes the subjective reality.  Which is what we often call the world we know.  That which we do not know, just cannot be—something Plato already demonstrated in his Allegory of the Cave.

Yet the water or the air on the large-sized canvases only appears in our connotation, because strictly formally it is a monochrome coloured area onto which the artist places his figures. They are applied with a correction tape roller .  The application by repeating the same procedure again and again seems, on the one hand, like a compaction, and on the other, like a dissolution.  Which does not constitute a contradiction.  The slow procedure demands an occupation with the painting over a long period of time.  The varied thoughts, the possible road networks that the primed canvas yields must be concretised and bundled.  On the other hand, the cohesive figure of the initial media picture is dissolved; and similar to the pixels on the computer screen, the figures on Tom Riess’ finished paintings consist of a multitude of individual correction tape lines placed more or less densely next to each other, which, seen from close up, form an abstract colored area and only reveal the motif when looked at from a distance.

•    Born in 1970 in Tyrol; lives and works in Vienna and Innsbruck, Austria.
•    1995-2001, studied at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg class for Graphic Arts
under Prof. Herbert Stejskal.
•    Since 2009 - the '@rtist‘s kitchen' - 3 artist`s residences in Vienna. Soravia Group Town.

Exhibitions (Selection):

Peithner-Lichtenfels Art Gallery Vienna, (A), Fishpiece Gallery Zürich (CH), Rooms, Castle Porcia Municipal Art Gallery Spittal/Drau (A), art depot Gallery Innsbruck (A),  Municipal Art Gallery Bressanone (I), St. Claude Gallery New Orleans (USA), Special Show for Young Art Art-Innsbruck (A), Künstlerhaus Klagenfurt (A), Stadtturmgalerie Art Gallery Innsbruck (A), Mirabellgartengalerie Municipal Art Gallery Salzburg (A), 5020 Art Gallery Salzburg (A),  RLB-Kunstbrücke Innsbruck (A), The Front Art Gallery New Orleans (USA), Eboran Art Gallery Salzburg (A), Kunstpavillon Art Gallery Innsbruck (A), Department of Fine Arts University of New Orleans (USA), Künstlerhaus Salzburg Art Gallery (A), ORF-Kulturhaus  Innsbruck (A)