michaela Kahn

How much do you see?

How much do you see? On a street, on a trail, in a museum, a market, a gallery? Sensory input crashes in through our eyes, our ears, vibrating against our skin, and by in large, what we see is outline, narrative. The minimum essential to assess and proceed through our daily lives. The details suffer; the connections between things; the patterns that might whisper some hidden meaning into our lives.

With an exhibition of work like The Colorful Side of Things, viewers are offered a unique opportunity to reengage with their senses and reinvigorate perception. In a third collaborative exhibition at Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, German artists Heiner Thiel and Michael Post bring their own unique and playful minimalism to Santa Fe.

It is the simplest things that create an aperture through which we are able to recognize complexity. Thiel and Post do this by stripping down to certain essential artistic principles and ideas in order to challenge the viewer to see more. Both artists create distinctive wall sculptures that explore color, shadow, form, and the very notion of the role of “the wall” in art. Both artists use their works to tease out the importance of what isn’t there as much as what is.

For Thiel, this exploration centers on (or rather in) the form of a sphere. Instead of giving us a full sphere, a bubble on the wall, Thiel puts us right inside the sphere by creating a precise fabricated cut-out, mounted so that it seems to blossom out from the wall – arcing to envelope the viewer. The aluminum is cut into different geometric shapes (a square, a waxing moon, a parabolic curve) and coated with intense color. This is the point where relationships begin to become interesting – the relationship between the sphere and the form, between the form and the wall, the shadow-shapes made behind it. But it is color that becomes perhaps most intriguing. The curve of the sphere, acting on the strong color, causes it to act in strange ways: shifting and changing with the light and perspective. Often the color even seems to lift, immaterially, to pool near the center of a piece. Just as the cut-spheres relate to the imaginary ones we can extrapolate from them – material color works with light and shadow to take on its own forms.


For Michael Post, this exploration of color, form, and relation takes the form of ellipses.The surface of the ellipse is folded to allow parts of the piece to float up off of the wall.And it is underneath that the primary action of the color occurs.While the surfaces of the pieces are mainly metallic, black, white, and only occasionally colored – the undersides of the pieces are all brilliant neon colors: fuchsia, orange, lime green, lemon yellow. These colors reflect onto the wall behind, creating haloes and light paintings. The relationships between surface and verso, between painting and wall, between shadow and color all come to the fore, engaging the viewer in dance of perception.

The Colorful Side of Things offers viewers the opportunity to pare back the landscape of their perception to essentials like color, light, and form in order to see deeper. The longer one spends with the wall sculptures of Heiner Thiel and Michael Post – the more one sees. A reminder and a lesson that can be carried beyond the gallery, into the world.