ROCKELMANN& is pleased to present ‘Complex Relationships’, a duo exhibition showing the abstract relationship between the works of Jens Heller and Megan Stroech.
The work of Jens Heller’s photo-realistic paintings obviously contrast Megan Stroech’s textured arrangements. One is restricted to the flat, framed surface of the canvas mounted classically on the wall. It is clear they have taken painstaking concentration and time to produce and show figurative images that we can automatically relate to. The other has no defined edge and uses the wall itself, sliding off into the gallery space and onto the floor. With only the occasional recognition of one or two elements, the appear as random formations of materials that have been discarded and lost their initial value.
Yet despite these very clear differences, they compliment each other. Stroech’s work is abstract in the obvious sense. Taking low-grade, readily available materials that have their shapes obscured or transformed, they are arranged into unfamiliar compositions. The everyday is arranged to a point where we have no narrative, no point of reference, and the works are then left to their own devices and become a relationship of colour, form and surface.
Heller’s work has, at first a clear connection to us. Through his acute realism the painted surface describes the textures of the surfaces in what seems to be a real space. But from then on we are lost in their absurdity. Who are these people or characters? What are their relationship with one another? What is the meaning in symbolism that appears to dominate the images? They leave us lost and wandering in an abstract reality.
‘Together I feel that Jens Heller’s work and my own make for an interesting dialogue on multiple levels. Heller’s paintings incorporate highly rendered visual texture, using sheen and reflective surfaces, allowing the viewer moments of pleasure and intrigue. Concurrently, in my work there is often a play between visual and actual texture where manipulating each material becomes very important. In each of our works, shifts in scale can serve as a point of departure for the viewer, providing clues for a larger narrative. Odd pairings often produce a sense of humor or absurdity; Heller’s with the use of toy characters and smiley face motifs and mine with collaging pool floats and brightly colored carpet. While our work is inherently different, Heller and I utilize many of the same visual strategies and elements of play, creating seemingly simple, but ultimately complex relationships for the viewer to investigate.’ Megan Stroech, 2014