Neues Bauen: Gregory Lind Gallery, San Fransisco

Gregory Lind Gallery is proud to present a series of new works by Irish artist Eamon O'Kane, who returns to the beginnings of the International Style of Europe. O'Kane's paintings offer the viewer meditations on the influential legacy of early buildings by European architects Walter Gropius, Mies Van Der Rohe, Hans Scharoun, Albert Frey, and Richard Neutra, as well as their influence on architectural innovation in the United States. The title of O'Kane's show, “Neues Bauen,” translates to “New Building,” and provided an aegis for the Modern architecture that emerged in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s.

O'Kane's 11 oil-on-canvas and acrylic-on-board paintings espouse the concept of the history of art and architecture as a construct whose multiple layers of artifice are capable of affecting perception and belief in subtle ways. Works such as “Dessau Autumn Study (Walter Gropius)” and “Farnsworth House in Snow (Mies Van Der Rohe)” offer haunting abstracted renditions of instantly recognizable modern structures that interrogate the relationship between site and building, as well as the subsequent articulation of a viewer's relationship to land, as it is constructed and envisioned by the artist-architect.

Also notable in O'Kane's oeuvre is a series of large-scale works such as "Desert Storm (Albert Frey)" and other pieces that depict a vernacular of American architecture known as Desert Modernism, which emerged in the affluent Coachella Valley of Palm Springs, California. These sleek, modern homes embraced the desert environment and dramatic geographic surroundings and were emblematized in the buildings of notable architects such as the Swiss-born Frey. Known for their use of clean lines, natural resources, and the merging of indoor/outdoor spaces, Desert Modernism's evocation of elegance and informality, counterbalanced by the intensity of the climate, provides a remarkable narrative for the tension between commercialism and rusticity, nature and manmade technologies, the artifice of the built environment and the intransigence of the desert climate, in O'Kane's works. The large-scale pieces offer a stunning window onto the growth of architecture as a practice upon which both the societal and commercial dictates of Modernism are juxtaposed against a persistent fascination with the creative potential inherent in the fantasy of the American West.

O'Kane's examination of these buildings and their subsequent “mid-century Modern” counterparts in the United States offers a vital rumination on the understanding of architecture and the aesthetics of space in a rapidly changing society.

Eamon O'Kane has exhibited widely and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Taylor Art Award, the Tony O'Malley Award, EV+A Open Award, a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, and a Fulbright Award. O'Kane has had over 50 solo exhibitions including shows in Berlin, Frankfurt, Dublin, Zurich, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Copenhagen. His artwork is in numerous public and private collections worldwide. O'Kane is Professor of Visual Art at Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Norway. He will have a solo exhibition at the Sheldon Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska this summer; and his artwork has recently been included in the new book Hyperdrawing, published by I.B. Tauris. This is the artist’s second solo show with Gregory Lind Gallery.