Wonderland: Valerie Hammond and Lothar Osterburg
March 2 – April 8, 2023
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 2, 2023, 6-8pm
PLANTHOUSE is thrilled to present Wonderland, an exhibition featuring recent prints and works on paper and sculpture by Hudson Valley-based artists Valerie Hammond and Lothar Osterburg. Osterberg is best known for photogravures featuring rough small-scale models of rustic structures, water and air vessels, and imaginary cities staged in evocative settings and photographed to appear life-size to disorienting, mysterious, or whimsical effects. Painter, printmaker, and sculptor Hammond explores the nuances and fluidity of identity in her exquisitely rendered and detailed work, combining images of flora, fauna, and the human body to convey the external and internal forces by which we are shaped.
Valerie Hammond is an American artist known for drawing inspiration from a rich array of spiritual references and, for this exhibition, the natural world of animals as chimerical human-animal hybrids. Wonderland includes delicate ink, and watercolor work on hand-made indigo-dyed Japanese Gampi paper, and a fantastical image of an owl and dove in vermillion. Three sculptures made from found hornet nests complement the works on paper.
Hammond’s work navigates between representation and the manifestation of the un-representable, alluding to the passage of time and the various transitions from one state of being to another. This sense of transformation is at the core of her printmaking. The medium is unique in preserving Hammond’s creative process, achieved through a series of state proofs. These proofs are made at intervals while the image is being composed and provide a physical record of the print’s evolution, visually chronicling the history of an artist’s decisions, additions, and re-workings.
Triggered by a COVID postponed—since re-scheduled—museum show at the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in the artist’s hometown of Braunschweig, Germany, Lothar Osterburg turned to the museum as a source of inspiration for this recent body of work. Starting with the museum’s building, recreated in snow and sand, his work focuses primarily on the content of the museum; visible and invisible, real and imaginary. From card catalogs and libraries to the cabinets of wonder, Osterburg finds inspiration inamassing artifacts and knowledge. The interiors represent spaces shaped by longing and remembrance, telling the stories of memories and specific images. Rembrandt’s etching Jerome in a Dark Chamber, the photograph by Frederick H. Evan, A Sea of Steps, and Kertész’s Chez Mondrian, as well as the artist’s first apartment in an attic and a friend’s cluttered apartment in Berlin, all become subjects and objects for his museum exhibition.
With the introduction of an optical lens view, the artist’s Models maintain the same mystery as the prints: he creates from them and therefore are no longer just the source of his artistic process.
The German native Lothar Osterburg is known as an artist, master printer, and teacher of photogravure. He completed art school at the Art Academy Braunschweig in Germany and received his training as Master Printer at Crown Point Press in San Francisco. He has exhibited internationally and has work included in many public and private collections. Awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010, two New York Foundations for the Arts Fellowships, and a 2018 Jordan Schnitzer Award for Excellence in Printmaking. He currently teaches at Bard College, NY.
View exhibition works by Lothar Osterburg here.
Download the exhibition press release here.
Download the exhibition checklist here.
Valerie Hammond, Bats (detail), 2023, ink and watercolor on handmade Gampi paper, 25.5 x 18.5 inches
Lothar Osterburg, Portal, 2023, Photogravure on Hahnemuhle with Gampi Chine Colle, 12.25 x 11.75 in on 17.5 x 16 inches