From September 23
Manganese Blue is the title of the second solo show by Oliver Osborne (Edinburgh, 1985) at Galería Pelaires. The artist, who has lived in Berlin for nearly 10 years, is showing his most recent work, which includes 9 oil paintings on linen and 2 new works on paper. Manganese Blue is a modern pigment, which produces a brilliant, cold blue. In the works shown here it is often found in the paintings' negative spaces; it is the colour that gives the motifs form. By drawing attention to this in the title, the artist places emphasis on how his recent subject matter (mostly personal or historical portraiture and still life) is shaped and given form.
The exhibition builds on the artist's longstanding interest in locating painting's identity within an increasingly networked world and the distinctive visual languages that digital technology engenders. Today, it is not yet fully apparent what makes a painting of this time or another, nor what makes an image unmistakably a product of the 21st century. The global visual culture of the present, which is at once connected by a common lexicon of internet imagery while at the same moment divided by differing technological and geopolitical realities, complicates ideas such as an artwork's place in time. And arguably, categories such as place of origin or stylistic tradition have less and less impact on what it means for an artwork to belong to the context in which it was made.
Oliver Osborne uses an array of visual devices and anachronistic elements to subtly scramble painting's many grammars introducing the inflections of one period into another to play with its languages and our fluency with them. What is immediately apparent about the works shown here is that they are all housed in sturdy, rather museological frames that veritably entomb each piece behind glass. The aesthetic decision to invoke the museum is not an arbitrary one but rather part of a number of subtle choices the artist has made to site the works within the vocabulary of painting or more specifically painting at a given time. Osborne's skill at replicating the look and feel of a particular time coupled with his sensitivity to the peculiar characteristics of digital image manipulation results in a painting practice that is at once rooted and unrooted. The paintings in this exhibition use portraiture and still life as an archetype to enjoy the tradition's odd ability to combine the legible with the ineffable.
Oliver Osborne (born in 1985 in Edinburgh).
Lives and works in Berlin.
Recent solo exhibitions include 'Recent Painting, Tanya Leighton, Los Angeles in 2023; 'Mantegna's Dead Christ' at Union Pacific, London, 'A Portrait of a Fat Man for Düsseldorf' at JVDW, Düsseldorf and 'German Afternoons', Tanya Leighton, Berlin, all in 2022. He also has held solo exhibitions at Galeria Pelaires, Palma de Mallorca in 2021; Braunsfelder, Cologne in 2020; Gió Marconi, Milan in 2019 and 2015; Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn in 2018; Tanya Leighton, Berlin in 2017; Vilma Gold, London in 2016 and 2013; Catherine Bastide, Brussels in 2015.
Other recent exhibitions include 'kSuL22svwBxgJ2Z' at Pas une Orange, Barcelona in 2021; 'Osborne/Empire' at Moran Moran, Los Angeles in 2018; 'Plant Scenery of the World' at Inverleith House, Edinburgh, 'Home is not a place' at the German Embassy, London in 2017 and 'Summerfest' at Max Hetzler, Berlin in 2017; 'The Written Trace' at Paul Kasmin, New York and 'The Funnies' at MOT International, Brussels in 2015; 'The Go Between' at Museo di Capodimonte, Naples and Sprovieri, London, and 'Everything Falls Faster Than An Anvil' Pace Gallery, London in 2014; and 'Bloomberg New Contemporaries' at ICA, London in 2012.
Osborne's work has been the subject of catalogues published by Braunsfelder, Cologne in 2020; Bonner Kunstverein in 2018 and Mousse in 2016.