Friday, August 10, 2012

Dirk Rathke



A re-post of my article in ModernHouston.net in June 2012.

One of the last truly Modernist art movements was Minimalism. No other art movement has made a greater impact on contemporary art than this style and idea of flat, quiet space. Artists have either used elements of minimalism, embraced it wholeheartedly, or reacted against it with a vengeance. Dirk Rathke has completely surrendered to the minimal, but with slight variations that help to continue the conversation in this field of painting

In some of the paintings, Dirk Rathke shows the simplest use of line through diptych works. He uses the edge of the individual canvas to create a space of implied line or invisible line between the works. All the works use subtle curves and waves to make a shaped canvas slightly sculptural. You can almost feel the works entering your space like a relief work. This is a shift from painting to becoming more like an object. Rathke breaks the “imaginary window into another world” effect that many Modernist attempted to achieve. And because Rathke is creating non-narrative works, he can keep it pure and simple with his investigation of line and shape.

A current trend of several artists; tape artist Aakash Nihalani, painter of space Felice Varini, and photographer George Rousse to name a few, are working in the geometric area of expression in rooms and outdoor installation spaces to create lines that imply objects. Often times you have to be standing in the correct place to get the desired effect, but these works are fun to walk around and see from different angles. Rathke has one such piece that creates two squares out of a series of red lines. However, his approach doesn’t seem to be about the celebration of illusion, but rather an investigation of space and line as a form or idea.

Dirk Rathke could be described a true purist of Minimalism. He is the next generation minimal artist investigating the very essences of art itself. You can see this work up close at Gallery Sonja Roecsh until June 30th.

ModernHouston.net for more images.

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