Howard Scott Gallery is pleased to announce the opening - on Thursday, 8 February - of the debut solo exhibition in the United States for the German painter, Rolf Behm. Born in Karlsruhe in 1952, he has been exhibiting publicly in his native country since 1980 and in his adopted country of Brazil (he lives in Rio de Janeiro a portion of each year) since 1998.
The artist acknowledges the important influence on his work of the Surrealists' stressing the role of one's allowing the imagination free rein and has spoken of his approach to composition being shaped by a "differentiated associative process". Other movements in 20th century visual arts which have affected his direction as a painter are Art Informel in the 1950s and color field painting.
Behm's having taken part in 1993 at a workshop in Maceio, Brazil for German and Brazilian artists awakened him to the remarkable beauties of that country. As in the known examples of Gauguin's visits to Tahiti and the British painters Alan Davie on the island of St Lucia and David Hockney in Southern California, Behm was captivated by the tropical atmosphere and light and the richness of the coloration in the landscape. [Also, he was moved by the simplicity of form and the monumentality of Rio's Sugar Loaf mountain, references to which can be found in a number of his most recent works.]
Citing the main characteristics of his work as being color, light, and space, he employs a combination of acrylic paint and oil - in thin and transparent layers, one above the other - in "illuminating abstract forms and giving depth to the surface". He strives for ambiguity in his work, wanting to set into motion the viewer's ability to evoke his or her own associations and imaginings.
The artist studied with the renowned German artist, Markus Lupertz from 1973 to 1977, spent a year in London on a DAAD grant, and worked in Florence for a year (1984) as artist in residence at the Villa Romana. He has had solo exhibitions with Galerie Springer in Berlin, Heike Curtze in Vienna, and - in 2006 - a ten-year survey of work in Koblenz (at Evangelisches Stift).