It’s Not Late, It’s Only Dark Fabian Treiber

New York 2024/04/05 2024/05/18

Fabian Treiber (b. 1986 in Ludwigsburg, DE) presents his fourth solo exhibition It’s Not Late, It’s Only Dark with Ruttkowski;68 in New York.

Fabian Treiber’s compositions evolve spontaneously while he paints, devoid of preconceived sketches. Instead, he engages in a dynamic process driven initially by formal-aesthetic decisions, gradually shifting towards motivic-associative ones. Questions arise: What impact does the initial color tone have in conjunction with the image carrier or the surface nature? Which further glazes can be employed to develop an engaging interplay of color planes, lines and shapes that gradually lead to Treiber’s characteristic subjects – landscapes and interiors? When does the painterly setting transform from a mist of color to a wisp of smoke, or even a gust of wind? When does a pointing hand gesture assert itself as a narrative moment, and when as a jarring fragment of human presence? Treiber continually probes the essence of painting, often traversing an interstitial realm between abstraction and representationalism, emptiness and condensation, recognition and alienation.

Within this methodology, the series of small-format paintings function as concentrates that are enriched in the large-format canvases. Displayed within these series, created over approximately 12 months, Treiber uses the focused imagery and hones in on two current interests: exploring visual patterns of perception and capturing time through painting. He explores both themes here using different hand gestures that seem familiar and almost weighty with meaning. At the same time, however, their fragmentation and integration into supposedly uneventful landscapes and spaces makes them unsettling. The motifs provoke inquiry, as Treiber intentionally defies expectations. Individual and collective ingrained associations with visual stimuli are never fully confirmed. His landscapes and interiors trigger visual memory, yet in many places the thoughts and feelings evoked come to nothing.

This theme persists in Treiber’s recent paintings, some comprising multiple parts. Hands and arms assume various, often awkward postures and iterations. Compared to his small-format paintings, the landscapes, interiors, and blends of exterior and interior spaces in the paintings exhibit greater detail and scenic quality. Hand gestures prompt viewers to imagine a narrative arc, as one is immediately tempted to imagine a before and after. Following his interest by scrutinizing the limitations and static nature of time in painting, which is presumed to be a rather static medium in comparison to photography, film and installation art — he subverts and dissatisfies conventional notions of cyclical or linear time. Only to eventually allowing it to collapse in a curious manner — a method that can also be observed in his approach to spatiality in his paintings. The painted spaces first appear coherent, then distorted and strangely unstable in the next segment of the picture, only to collapse completely at another vanishing point.

“I see my job as finding pictures rather than creating them,” states Fabian Treiber, underscoring his unwavering fascination for the medium of painting and the gratifying certainty that his search will continue.



text by Anne Vieth


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