Being confronted with work of American artist Tauba Auerbach (1981) can perhaps evoke a bit of a psychedelic effect, or at least it can be deceitful for your eyes and perception. The colours, the effects, the different techniques. She is not afraid to amaze you with her colourful and sensory works. Perception is everything in Auerbach’s work. The artist has described it herself as ‘an attempt to reveal new spectral and dimensional richness… both within and beyond the limits of perception’. Traditional distinctions between content, dimensionality and image disappear. Surface and questions and issues surrounding topology in the larger sense have been central concerns in her oeuvre. She works in a wide variety of media such as painting, photography, sculpture, book design, drawings and weaving. Auerbach is an artist who always works in series. A theme or problem is examined in detail, almost systematically. She draws much of her inspiration from physics and mathematics, but can equally refer to the history of art and to technical skills as weaving and calligraphy.
In her series Fold, she presents ‘trompe l’oeil’ surfaces that record the traces of their former three-dimensionality. She folded and wrinkled canvases in order to produce a three-dimensional topography. Subsequently she painted them with an industrial sprayer before they were drawn back out onto stretcher frames. The result is a seductive set of images.
In her Weave paintings, Auerbach uses weaving to transform and reassess the flat surface. From the monochromatic works emerge elusive topographies of recesses and reliefs and of continuities and ruptures. It is reminiscent of the white monochrome reliefs of Dutch artist Jan Schoonhoven (1914-1994). Intriguing and appealing, that is what Auerbach’s work evokes. In order to fully comprehend her world it is better to take a closer look at her sensory art in person.
The work RGB Colorspace Atlas (2011) was on view in the group exhibition Superficial Hygiene at De Hallen Haarlem until 9 June 2014.