Born 1971, Hamburg, Germany
Till Gerhard’s romantic paintings emanate eerie undertones of spiritual isolation, sectarianism and insinuated depravity, unnervingly referenced through popular culture and current events. Reinventing the genre of sublime landscape as contemporary parable, Till Gerhard’s epic scenes of rural community are painted with supernatural intensity, alluding to a disquietly sinister corruption of Utopia. Rendered with the placid realism of religious illustrations, Till Gerhard’s large-scale canvases invoke a nostalgic sentiment of 19th century Transcendentalism and a thematic suggestion of filmic narrative; seeking solace in the divine harmony of wilderness, his figures become both victims and perversions of their idyllic environments.
Till Gerhard designs the sacred milieu of landscape with painterly mysticism. Bathed in blinding celestial light, his figures are haloed in ‘salvation’ and dwarfed by the majesty of their surrounds. Delicate spills of colour seduce with ethereal glow, while heavy brushwork stands in stark contrast to entrancing flourishes of drips, splashes and smears. Till Gerhard poses his vistas as simultaneously beautiful and foreboding: trees tower with imprisoning threat, and light is conceived as spectral hues, giving the canvases the illusion of radiating from within. The surfaces of Till Gerhard’s paintings are bespeckled with divine aura, infusing his scenes with a supernal ambience. Each beam of light has the effect of floating out of the canvas, embracing the viewer in its contaminated warmth.
Till Gerhard’s paintings explore the conflict between man and nature. Within his scenes is a recurring intrusion of unnatural entity: oil wells and tree forts exude an encroaching anxiety. Gerhard uses their odd presence as a departure into the surreal: a cabin nestled in the woods or a skyline dotted with refineries are both alien and comforting as their surrounding landscapes stretch, float and churn with hallucinatory disorientation. In this conflicted crusade for spiritual revelation and ideological orthodoxy, ghost-like figures mill about lost in their Thoreau-inspired quest for enlightenment.
Text written by Patricia Ellis