On October 27, Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery will proudly open a show of new works by Copenhagen-based artist Thomas Øvlisen. The exhibition will feature a series of oil paintings on ping-pong tables, as well as several freestanding cement sculptures. Øvlisen’s native Denmark is surrounded by the sea and has a long artistic history in the depiction of seascapes.
In Pocket Full of Dreams, Øvlisen picks up the subject, using contemporary materials as substrates. The artist began painting on ping pong tables several years ago after a table he purchased for his son arrived broken and he repurposed it as a “canvas”. The midline gap created by the folding structure and center line provided compositional cues, establishing a horizon line where the sea meets the sky. He also toys with the format, in some works turning each panel 90 degrees and reconstituting to create a more elongated, panoramic ground.
The show will feature three of these repurposed tables-turned-seascapes, which include images of seagulls – a ubiquitous presence in Denmark and coastal areas globally. Here they are used both as a cultural quotation and as a way to suggest boundlessness and possibility. Øvlisen’s brushy, energetic mark making emphasizes his hand, and furthers the feeling of flight. In addition to the paintings, a group of cement sculptures will stand sentinel-like in the gallery, creating a monumental, columnar environment. The shape of each piece references mimetoliths, caryatids, and other anthropomorphic rock carvings and pillars. The sculptures take on a silent, mythic stature, alluding to ancient forms marked by weather and time.
Thomas Øvlisen holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Kunsthal Kongegaarden, Korsør, Denmark, at Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, Denmark, at V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, New York, NY, and at Sade in Los Angeles CA.