Charline von Heyl, installation view, the Ice Plant, November 2008

Charline von Heyl

Charline von Heyl is a German-born artist, New York-based for many years, who makes paintings and works on paper which are wildly different each from the next. Uninterested in developing a consistent “style,” she’s instead made a kind of syncretism or polymorphousness her modus operandi. In a von Heyl painting, the “looks” of different styles and eras of art blend and bounce off one another.

At the Ice Plant, von Heyl showed a group of nine paintings made over the course of her residency. The paintings were mostly large, 7 by 7 feet or so, with two smaller works intermingled. The paintings were propped on blocks and leaned against girders or the wall, giving the exhibit an improvisational feel. A quick scan of the room suggested a bunch of different painters squaring off and wrestling for space, often within the confines of a single painting. Von Heyl’s paintings thrive on paradox. They tell complicates stories, rife with contradictions and reversals. They aim to be themselves, not the image of themselves—not the cover of the novel but the novel itself.

Charline von Heyl was born in Mainz, Germany in 1960. She studied painting with Jörg Immendorff in Hamburg and Fritz Schwegler in Düsseldorf. She has had many solo exhibitions at Friedrich Petzel Gallery in New York, Galerie Gisela Capitain in Cologne, and Galerie Baerbel Graesslin in Frankfurt, as well as other venues, including the Dallas Museum of Art in 2005 and the Vienna Secession in 2004. She has participated in numerous group shows, including the traveling exhibition Make Your Own Life: Artists In and Out of Cologne. In fall 2008 her artist’s book Sabotage was published by Xn Editions and Christophe Daviet-Thery in Paris.