The young German painter Christof Mascher is having his first solo show in London later this month at the recently opened Josh Lilley Gallery. Entitled ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’, the exhibition will feature a selection of new paintings on canvas, board and wood in which the artist uses a mix of oil, acrylic, Indian ink, lacquer and varnishes. This will be the first chance in London to see the work of one of Germany’s most talented young artists.
Mascher’s paintings are residues from a subconscious process that guides his work. Heavily influenced by David Lynch’s account of steering one’s own dreams – “I like to plunge into a dream-world which I myself have created or discovered, a world I have sought out for myself” – Mascher is motivated by capturing or constructing such fantastical narratives in his paintings. As a self-proclaimed child of the 80s, certain iconography and inspiration arises from various characters such as Skeletor, Jabba the Hutt, and the Super Mario Bros. Interested in how fantasy allows the surreal to emerge into life, such creations are integrated into Mascher’s pictures on horizontal layers that sweep through his works. This stage-setting is crucial, forcing the viewer to navigate and weave through the paintings as one would do in vintage video games, platforms that were ultimately built in 2D.
Yet Mascher’s work can also be seen in the tradition of Northern European landscape painting. While one notices an appreciation of naïve art or the Primitive, it is clear that Friedrich’s expansive vistas, the composed fantasy of Paul Klee, the hybrids and creations of Bosch, the clash of man and nature seen in Nolde, and the masking and huddling of figures employed by James Ensor, are all continuously present. This fusion of contemporary iconography with references to the past, aligned to the variation of materials he uses, allows for an individual kind of research where Mascher can develop what he calls his “secret knowledge”. It is here where he finds a connection with Maya Deren’s 1943 classic, ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’, and the energy it seeks to express, specifically in how it is “concerned with the interior experiences of an individual, recording an event which cannot be witnessed by other people.”
Christof Mascher was born in 1979 in Hannover, and lives and works in Braunschweig, Germany. In the past two years he has had solo museum shows at Galerie der Stadt Remscheid, and at the Museum for Modern Art, Goslar. Gallery exhibitions include Fake Empire at The Happy Lion, LA in 2008, and The Ghost Yard at Galerie Michael Janssen, Cologne in 2007. In late 2009, Mascher will participate in group shows at the Nunnery Gallery, London and Salon Schmitz, Cologne. He was taught at the Hochschule für bildende Künste (HBK), Braunschweig, under Professor Walter Dahn.
19 June – 25 July
Josh Lilley Gallery