Andre Hemer: Phenomena

Phenomena is a solo exhibition of paintings, photographs, and videos by the New Zealand-German artist André Hemer who investigates the bounds of materiality and appearances, which is increasing his practice attempts to weave together multiple media that emerge from a unique encounter and capture of natural phenomena - both mundane and spectacular. He sees nature not only as a subject of expression but as a generative way of creating works.

The latest work of the artist was conceived during his residency at the SARP Foundation in Sicily in 2022 which is a plan to help the artist in the Previtra Palace built in 1649 to work on-site at the foot of Mount Etna. The works present this beautiful and complex environment as both a moment in time and a microcosm of nature and contemporary artifacts; combined with the backdrop of smoking volcanoes, European heat waves, and the occasional sandstorm that crosses the Mediterranean from the Sahara.

The Palazzo’s historic gardens became the focus of his interpretation and documentation of these phenomena into a series of lens-based digital captures. Alluding to the tradition of Italian Renaissance painting, the images are captured 'upward' to the sky, making the light itself the central figure, but in a way that connects the old with the new, with a natural aura and a contemporary experience of backlit digital screens, fusion together and capture system.

These captures also incorporate direct flora and materials found and sculpted on site, shot in 2D and 3D, and output digitally in painting, photography, sound, and video. The same materials ground into natural pigments are used to create the resulting paintings and drawings and give form to the photographic and painterly gestures that wrap around the canvas, which themselves give way to "visual portals" that reveal the sky behind.

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