FRIEZE MASTERS: VERENA LOEWENSBERG
The Mayor Gallery will present at Frieze Masters 2019 the first exhibition in London dedicated to the Swiss Concrete artist Verena Loewensberg (1912 - 1986 Zurich, Switzerland). The selection will span over the last three decades of her life, from the 1960s to the mid 1980s, with large perfectly executed colourful oils on canvas, witnessing her development from her involvement in the Concrete Movement led by Max Bill (1908-1994) to more intuitive compositions, searching constantly for harmony and unity at the height of her career but always based on constructive principles.
Verena Loewensberg began her studies at the Basel trade school in 1927 where she was introduced to design and colour theory, then went on to a weaver apprenticeship as well as training in dance and choreography; the echoes of these disciplines can all be found in her work as an artist.
Between 1934 and 1936 Loewensberg visited Paris several times often accompanied by Max Bill, with whom she had a close lifelong friendship and who introduced her to the artists of the group ‘Abstraction-Création‘; Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Theo van Doesburg, as well as Georges Vantongerloo who had a lasting effect on her work. As of 1936 she belonged to the Swiss avant-garde, while after the war she became known as the only female artist of the small circle of the "Zurich Concrete", with Max Bill, Richard Paul Lohse and Camille Graeser.
Although her work is fundamentally constructive in nature, it was also imbued with great freedom, poetry and musicality. Loewensberg worked with visual elements that seem contradictory: her work contains circular shapes, cloud forms, irregular pentagons and sharp and obtuse angles, as well as colours that the strict constructivists who only worked in primary colours would deem unacceptable. Obsessed with visual problems, she solved them with a clear and precise attitude, suppressing any handwritten trace on the canvas.
From the sixties onwards, her work is of an independence and autonomy that eludes classification. She created an extensive series of reduced, purely coloured compositions that tackle the problem of figure and ground repeatedly finding barring at the time of colour field painting, conceptual painting and minimalism.
Museum Haus Konstruktiv Zurich held a retrospective of her work in 2006 followed by the Kunst Museum Winterthur in 2012. Although Loewensberg exhibited around the world and was included in group exhibitions in London, it will be the first time that her work will be presented in England in a solo exhibition.