Wols, Lobster Claw    von Heyl, The Colour Out of Space

Wols, UNTITLED, end 1942/early 1943, ink and watercolor on structured paper. courtesy of Karin and Uwe Hollweg STiftung, Bremen. Charline von Heyl, The Colour Out of Space, 2013, acrylic and oil on canvas. Collection of Lizbeth & George Krupp. Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York.

“Is it painting or not/Wols doesn’t care… Wols sincerely is in love with the matter that surrounds us.”
                                    — Wols

“How can I bend oil to do what it's not supposed to do, and how can I make acrylic visceral? Starting with things I can't use can take me where I need to go. The paintings are harsh—but full of beauty. Desire is there.”
                                    — Charline von Heyl

This exhibition inaugurates Rose Projects, a new initiative at the Rose Art Museum. Each project series will consist of three exhibitions addressing different aspects of a thematic, scholarly concern. Since the 1970s, “project” exhibitions in U.S. museums have focused on monographic presentations of young artists in an effort to inject the contemporary into institutional contexts. With the aim of foregrounding curatorial thought and creativity, Rose Projects, by contrast, emphasizes the timeliness of the idea structuring the related projects, marrying careful scholarship to adventurous thinking. Rose Projects 1, organized by Curator at Large Katy Siegel, focuses on artists who refuse the categorical divides between representation and materialist abstraction, image and object, looking instead for different models of reality through paintings that exist on the threshold between the recognizable and the unknown.

The first of Siegel’s three exhibitions brings together artists from different historical moments: Wols, born Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze (1913–1951) and Charline von Heyl (b. 1960). Wols and von Heyl use traditional mediums in non-traditional ways, broadening and reveling in the spectrum of possible colors, surfaces, and images they can produce. For both artists, art has the potential to reveal profound desires and realities that often remain unnoticed, or even invisible.