Chance has left its indelible mark on contemporary art. From Dada to Surrealism, to Jackson Pollock, then John Cage, up to Francis Alys and Tino Sehgal, artists have arbitrated that mercurial space between the unseen, the random, and the visible.
When confronted in the studio with a blank canvas which in due time fills the blank space, painters often gut check themselves when assesing whether a painting is finished, or not. Activated from a lifeless two dimensions, time and process orient the painted image or gesture into a visual coherence.
In the 21st century geometric abstraction enjoys its current renaissance in a hurly-burly social environment. Abstraction today is that filtration from the virtual viral regressed back towards the real. It is analog, and poignantly so. It is still Modern, but a 21st century Modernity fraught with trepidation at the Gorgons guarding the virtual gateway. It holds on to its physical mantel, what we call bricks and mortars is to a painter, that fleshy gaze of pigment. This repudiates the toxicity of virtual color, while paradoxically incorporating its effects on our overloaded retinas.
Abstraction comes with its own noble provenance which is the bedrock of its foundation; Malevich's non-objectivity, Josef Albers repetition, Frank Stella's reductivity, Rothko's sublimity, Halley's systemic investigations, Mary Heilmann's unorthodox assymmetry, Tomma Abts interlocking patterns and so on. Abstraction exists in a sensorial vaccum, sandwiched betweeen digitized media, a mental impression of an interior state, and the sights and sounds of the exoteric world.
Reconciling this push-pull balancing act, the paintings of Svenja Deininger fall within that gray zone between a structured parameter (with its set of rules) and the randomness of improvisation. They are the fruitful etudes of her arduous labor and sneak up on you. Spend some time contemplating the mercurial compositons that bleed into the toothy gaps of canvas to reveal layers of trial and error until the forms coagulate. They're palimpsets that ran out room for the next layer, demanding a static dénouement. The colors wax and wane simultaneously fighting for space, hence the subtle tension built into them, an aggregation of a thousand possiblities. These paintings are erasures and deletions of indecision, mishap, and circumstances of untold tribulations in the studio. They are alive in the body as much as the mind. (Max Henry, January 2013)