Sep 19, 2011

PROFILE | Gahr


Gahr, Project "Wa(h)re Landchaft" , six stainless steel cubes,
   A medium seemingly from another world, manipulated in a way fitting to our own. Herbert, Barbara, Stefen, and Robert Gahr seem to overflow with with creative ambition and a multitude of work seen in galleries, homes, and even in the middle of the forest. Though little information is available to the public about Gahr, other than their website, so much can be taken from simply looking at just one piece. For the most part Gahr deals mainly with steel (both stainless and rusted), brass, bronze, copper, and some paintings with lacquer on steel. Their use of color combined with texture is astounding in the way that it seems to mimic a sort of plasma or unearthly substance, which in a lot of cases doesn't even resemble metal.

   Texture plays an enormous role in the depiction of keys elements in each piece. One can take their "Enthüllung" and really appreciate the contrast in the two form's texture and color which really amplifies the piercing separation of the piece. Their works, busy yet relaxing, seem to both relate to and mock nature in their refraction of light which is obscured by the bends and dents intentionally place there. Their welds are a strong focal point for many of their works, which in a “correct and proper” way to weld would look nothing like this. They seem to be sporadic and excessive with the welding adding their “Vegetative” lines and textures of the pieces. This accumulation of welding beads also gives a biological, almost vascular feel while simulating something almost alien.

Gahr, Untitled, Steel, 2007
    Many of their sculptures utilize negative space amplifying the textures even more; several of which seem fitting to the lack of material in a melting or deteriorating way. Geometric shapes are commonly used among their work adding much needed aesthetics to the composition where there may be a lacking in necessary detail that would further illustrate the idea of the piece. Versatility definitely comes to mind when browsing their elaborate collection. I really admire an artist who explores and breaks the boundaries of a medium. I must say though, the way their website is set up I can't help but feel I'm browsing in a catalog-shopping. I feel their works could have been presented in a much more suiting manner (as far as the internet). With that said, several of their series pieces which had them placed out in forest and fields seemed both natural and unnatural in a very balanced way. Here you would have a stainless steel cube sitting in a green, grassy field with cattle occasionally approaching, looking very unworldly and yet refracting its surroundings in a seemingly natural way. I will state their Project "Wa(h)re Landschaft" reminded me too much of litter, mainly aluminum cans floating down the river; it just didn't exist with nature as well as it did in the fields with the cattle. To take such an element like that of a geometrical stainless steal cube, with a clean mirror like finish reflecting light in a distorted way, and place it within a realm of anomalous plant and animal life seems so far apart that it's almost necessary for them to exist together.

Gahr, Land Art Project,Steel in Nature, Salzburg, Germany

    It would seem this fascinating family from Germany could sculpt molten metal with their bare hands, and do it all while mimicking surrounding natural beauty.  Quite the task for any artist to bend and break boundaries and bring an alien feel to such earthly ideas.  I'm sure an aspiring metalsmith could acquire some untapped inspiration through Gahr and their work.


 - David Davis

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