Jennifer Bannert: Elements

May 27 - Jul 1, 2023
I prefer the viewer not to be able to overlook a certain landscape that forms a backdrop for human acting. Instead, single elements of nature itself become the protagonists of my pictures, like the clouds, the air, the water, light and darkness. I depict these phenomena in form of all-over-paintings, so that nature appears big and can’t be objectified.

Edward Cella Gallery is thrilled to present the new and recent work of German artist Jennifer Bannert in an exhibition entitled Elements. Installed in the raw studio space at the Himalaya Club that Bannert has occupied over the past three months during her first artist residency in Los Angeles, the exhibition offers an introduction to her artistic practice that spans mediums and materials and centers around the relationships of humanity and nature. Within the context of the immense shift from nature being a stable backdrop for human history to one where nature intervenes in human history itself; Bannert’s work incorporates technological materials like aluminum and digital photographic processes along with paintings made of traditional materials which draw from German and English landscapes from the Romantic period.  Hewing towards alternative representations of nature, in Bannert’s words, “my work confronts the notion of the sublime in art. As a contemporary artist, how can I depict nature when it threatens humankind with a new overwhelming force?” 


The paintings and photographs selected by Bannert for the exhibition contrast with one another ranging from larger format inky paintings that feature the distant light of the stars in the dark night sky; to medium format paintings and photographs made on slabs of aluminum which reflect ambient light through translucent colors; to smaller format paintings of shimmering primary and spectral colors arranged in horizontal and vertical bands. Each work is inspired by a different element in nature such as clouds, water, light, or even the iridescent skins of fish – their life only just expired still sill shimmering in many colorful nuances, Bannert seeks to transform these elemental if improbable materials into the protagonists of the artworks themselves.


Differing from European traditions of landscape painting by incorporating the minimal forms and all over patterns of American abstract painting; the artist states, “my paintings zoom in on the subject, eliminate the classical foreground, background arrangements, and confront the viewer with pictures of nature that cannot be overlooked but in the face of which he must understand himself as part of something bigger. The formlessness of the color and the ephemeral character of the aluminum images due to the reflections they contain, contribute to that impression of disorientation.”


The setting of Bannert’s artist residency at the Himalaya Club injects new meaning to her ongoing artistic investigations. The material use of aluminum sheeting that she hangs in similar ways to large sheets of paper and her painterly depictions of deep space resonate in new ways within the context and history of the aerospace industries of Southern California. The winter rains and uncharacteristically cloudy atmospheric conditions find expression in a large new format painting created during her during her stay.  The state’s iconic light and its specific influence on artists of the late 20th Century of the Light and Space Movement present new ways of looking at Bannert’s practice which up to now has been confined in Europe yet has evolved in parallel depicting the ambivalent character of the ephemeral and transient qualities of light that is present in all the works on view.


Representing the first exhibition of the artist’s work in the United States, Elements offers a survey of Jennifer Bannert’s diverse and especially timely practice. The exhibition will be presented in parallel with Chris Trueman: Certain Intangibility and will run from May 27 through June 24, 2023 and be open to the public each week Thursday through Saturday, 11 AM to 5 PM and on other days and times by appointment. The exhibition is presented by Edward Cella Gallery at the Himalaya Club located at 1109 N. La Brea Ave, Inglewood, California 90302. The Vernissage will take place on Saturday, May 27 from Noon to 6 pm will feature a reception for both artists and feature two independent artist talks beginning at 3 PM.


Installation Views