Gabi Hamm

26 Nov 2005 - 15 Jan 2006

Gabi Hamm’s paintings evoke memories. Her predominantly classical themes including landscapes, interiors, or situational female portraits appeal to our memory of images and make situations come alive that we are familiar with. Actually, the artist uses photographic material such as newspaper images, postcards, reproduced paintings, or self-made photographs as a basis for her works. Gabi Hamm applies thoughtful brush strokes to sketch the essence of her paintings on a monochrome background. The colour palette is always restrained, and the scenes, which bear resemblance with still-lifes, densify to form mostly mysterious, fragile worlds of images that always include a reflection of abstract ways of looking at things.
Though the artist uses well-known imagery and a traditional artistic technique such as painting the works by Gabi Hamm are by no means retrogressive. On the contrary, the details that Hamm selects from the underlying picture rather convey a silent dignity that states an alternative view as opposed to the fast-moving and hectic world we live in. Girlish faces, primeval trunks of trees, and situational arrangements that you might mistake for trivial genre scenes turn into manifestations of a microcosm of a kind that almost completely evades perception in our lives. Gabi Hamm creates an image time-out in order to counter the superabundance of images and impressions that the human eye must continually cope with in our times. The reduced elements presented on her canvases bring relief to the strained look and allow to focus on what is essential.
This effect is reinforced by the diffuse light situation in the pictures. While our medialized world of images relies on shrill colours and sharp contours the motifs and protagonists chosen by Gabi Hamm become blurred to the point where they change into soft figures that seem to breathe and hover against their backgrounds almost like ghosts. This apparent silence, however, does not mean that these images are void of conflicts: The humble look of a girl causes the beholder to halt in confusion, and the same effect may be caused by a forest landscape from which dark clouds of smoke billow up into the sky. This is why the peace that the beholder believes to perceive in Gabi Hamm’s paintings at first sight is often based on something morbid.

© Gabi Hamm
Untitled, 2005, oil on plywood, 38 x 30 cm

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