Opening on June 27, 2006, David Zwirner is pleased to present the first U.S. solo exhibition by German painter Rosa Loy. Loy has had recent solo exhibitions at Städtische Museen Zwickau, Zwickau, Germany; Kunstverein Elsterpark/Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; VEAG Förderpreis für Kunst, Leipzig, Germany; and Kunstverein der Stadt Backnang, Backnang, Germany.
In her large-scale figurative paintings and intimate works on paper, Rosa Loy explores deeply personal themes: the sense of isolation and loneliness after her family's move from her childhood village to Leipzig; the interpretation of her dreams; color symbolism; and, perhaps most importantly, the spiritual realm. Women are the key players in her paintings, yet their motives are ambiguous–discreet levels of meaning are hidden amid coded and murky symbols. In many of the works, twins or doubles appear. One figure may be Loy herself, and the double is the artist's childhood friend with whom she was separated years ago. Loy employs three predominant settings– the post-industrial landscape around Leipzig; a domestic space (often a home, room, or studio); and a garden motif. New characters have emerged in the most recent works as these settings have grown decidedly darker and more complex.
The current exhibition will include a selection of new works on canvas. Viewing artmaking as both a laborious profession and a spiritual journey, Loy attempts to uncover what she refers to as "unknown pasts." The title 9 Wege (9 Ways) suggests options for navigating creativity and inspiration. For Loy, these "ways" are points of access into a largely spiritual realm. Fusing the visual outcomes of her dreams with conscious (and intentionally ambiguous) story-telling, Loy juxtaposes the extremes of the left (linear) and right (non-linear) brains. Perhaps in an effort to harness the creative possibility of the state of disorientation, which she feels is essential to growth and learning, she allows herself the freedom of not having answers. For this reason, the work appears to be in a state of flux–inhabited by humans, animals, and vaguely familiar settings–yet one never quite feels a sense of resolve.
In Desorientierung (Disorientation), two similarly dressed women are tethered by a red vine at the edge of a marsh. In Orientierung (Orientation), two women tend to a third, bed-ridden female while carefully removing serpents from a basket on the floor. In both works, flat shapes hover in the foreground (in one it is flowers, and in the other, lyrical shapes reminiscent of the serpents that appear elsewhere), reinforcing the shallowness of the picture plane. Paired with Loy's folksy realism, this graphic element reminds the viewer that the space of dreams is limited, yet simultaneously rife with potential.