Friday, 19 November 2010

Günther Herbst

My paintings until recently were a series of work based on homeless shelters that I had been photographing over a number of years. The materials and fibers that made up these shelters, and the way they were at odds with the surrounding architecture or immediate environment was the starting point for a series of work that soon departed from the premise of ‘studies’. I appropriated a language of history and contemporary painting practices and used these as a transparent medium in order to comment on the subject matter from a different perspective.

I am in a transition phase at the moment having stripped the work back to purely formal painting issues. The work still has its origin in photography. Within these images I look for grids and patterns, which remind me of the work of other artists. My work has long been concerned with converging a number of different types of space into a single act. It has always been connected with the public arena, or 'social space', specifically that of the violence enacted in public, urban space as both a place of global arrival and terminal resort of the dispossessed. My work focuses on the painterly, two-dimensional space of the canvas as an arena of art-historical techniques and possibilities.


Waterloo Rd. 3 Red Blue White Grey 2009 Oil on canvas 100 x 130 cm

Tottenham Court Rd. 3 Black Blue Red 2009 Acrylic and oil on board 30 x 22 cm

Tottenham Court Rd. 5 Yellow Red Blue Grey 2009 Acrylic and oil on board 50 x 64.5 cm

Waterloo Rd. 4 Red Blue 2010 Acrylic on paper 19 x 25.5 cm

Work in progress New Oxford St. 3 Red White Blue Yellow Black 2010 Oil and acrylic on board 47.5 x 69.5 cm



  1. Lovely post. I can see how the work is in transition: from representation to more of a painterly event in itself. I can see that narrative in the chronology and order of the works here. Your post shows both the individual works, some of which clearly belong to the same 'phase', and your progression and development as an artist, which is always interesting.

  2. I love this work and you have indeed shown us an interesting transitional stage.
    Not being a painter I relate more to the 'object' quality of the work, and I'm therefore drawn to the last image "work in progress New Oxford Street' because it's shown in the studio context, which really brings it to life.
    To tie up with Sam Basu's previous page- I can see the future!! There's a sci-fi quality to this work but is a sense of foreboding. The urban setting is reminding me of a combination of Clockwork Orange and Space Odyssey 2001- these films by Kubrick, i think, will always be able to convey the essence of how to imagine an unknown, dream-like future landscape/architecture, (albeit with slight parody in Kubrick's case).
    I think the transitional work is potentially exciting with less literal descriptions of the materials and locations portrayed there's more room for atmospheric metaphysical contemplation. I like that you keep the grounding effect in the work by reference to art history with grids, compositions and primary colours etc .