Hermann Lederles new show of his paintings at Frank Pictures Gallery is a body of selected works from 1987 to the present. Through the blizzard of paint, Lederle evolves the history of his art: the quick charcoal life drawings of his years at the San Francisco Art Institute, their transformation into his blurred oil stick paintings, to his discovery of gold leaf, with its definite high contrast surface, applied in grids that literally trap his expressionistic figures bodies, faces, fish and birds -- within a pattern of golden pixels. I dont capture what I see, he says, I capture what I feel I see. In his white paintings, Lederle continues to deal with the figure, liberating and imprisoning it simultaneously, and then sending it into dynamic, turbulent motion through the introduction of circular layers atop the gold-leaf grid, playing background against foreground in a perpetual tug-of-war with the eye of the viewer. His paintings shift and transform with fluctuations in the light, and the hidden figures, fighting for air, for space, for dominance -- a pentimento forgotten images, surfaces, feelings and music set free as much by what Lederle leaves out as by what consciously has placed there. If you really abstract a shape so much, says Lederle, the imagination of the viewer does the work. I dont want to impose a message on my paintings. I see them as a catalyst. The images I want you to see in what I do are your own.
BY Laurie Frank