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Robert Janitz (b. Alsfeld, West Germany, 1962; lives and works in New York) makes paintings that uncover processes by exploring the interplay between movement, gesture, and rhythm. Janitz prepares his canvases with an undercoat of color gradient, he then applies long strokes of semi-transparent blends of oil, wax, and flour. His matter-of-fact technique repurposes the basic hand movements involved in actions such as buttering a slice of bread or laying on a coat of tile mortar: gestures from everyday life and skilled manual labor. The wide geometrically patterned brushstrokes in Janitz's compositions also evince symmetrical structures and linear features that are reminiscent of the Latin alphabet or Devanagari, a script used to write Sanskrit, a language the artist studied. In addition to its uniformly aesthetic and contemplative effect, Janitz's impasto brushwork reflects a novel and distinctive engagement with abstraction in painting in the tradition of masters like Markus Lüpertz and Günter Förg. With generous spontaneity and painterly accuracy, the artist synthesizes color and form without veering into the narrative register.
After stints in Frankfurt, Berlin, and Paris, Janitz has called New York home for more than a decade. The monograph documents the work he has created there. With essays by Catherine Taft and Suzanne Hudson.