Christian Rosa’s sparse and eloquent abstract paintings function like automatic writing, visually tracing the movements the artist has made in front of the canvas. Working within the self-bound limits of his own physical gestures, the act of painting is, for Rosa, a process of discovery which contains both the building blocks for pictorial narrative as well as the methods for its deconstruction. His work is open-ended, encouraging the viewer towards more interior contemplation and modes of enquiry.
On the surface, Rosa’s paintings appear to pursue the ideals and procedures of high modernism while also dispensing with its rules. However, despite their possible visual references to the work of both Wassily Kandinsky and Cy Twombly, his approach is highly personal. Isolated elements and shapes of pure primary colour float against a raw canvas background allowing new modes of communication to arise between disparate marks on the canvas and lines, dots, squares, and scribbles evolve together, becoming the preliminary forms for further engagement suggesting the very beginning of some kind of figuration. Using both the indeterminate and vaporous quality of spray paint, along with the graphic nature of pencil and oil stick, Rosa harnesses the inherent qualities of materials, using their textural appeal to encourage emotive and subjective responses in the viewer.
Rosa’s paintings are the result of an action and retain both the successes and mistakes that this entails. Created as points of departure for a new emotive, visual experience, they are guided, as Gabriela Salgado has noted, by ‘chance and an instinctive trust of the energy contained in physical motion and failure.’ In this way, he builds up a tension in the paintings through a style of mark making that evades any suggestion of craft and eludes any sense of fixability or entrenched placement through its brevity and gesturality. Rosa trades on the notion of something beginning or emerging on the canvas – his pictures creating planes of energy from which different narratives and possibilities can spring.
Christian Rosa was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1982 and lives and works in Vienna and Los Angeles. Rosa studied under fellow painter, Daniel Richter at the Akademie der bildenden Künste, graduating in 2012. Solo exhibitions include ‘The Shits and the Seven Dwarfs’, ibid, projects, Los Angeles (2013). Group exhibitions include ‘Momenta’, Venice Biennale, Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin; ‘ReMap’, Athens (2013); ‘Brucennial 2012’, New York (2012). In 2011 he received the Walter Koschatzky Art Prize.