For Olaf Breuning’s third solo exhibition with Carbon 12, ‘Brainwashed by Nature’, Breuning unveils new, conceptual paintings that venture back to nature, and the pressing environmental concerns we face today. Our human race, no longer truly living in the present but in the past and future, have constantly paid a blind eye to the consequences of our actions - until recent years.
By using elements found within nature to discuss nature itself, Breuning's rough landscapes incorporate the usage of woodcut slices to explore the foreseeable circumstances of mankind’s detrimental actions. The return to a simpler, more primitive state of production contrasts faster, more industrialized methods of creating art. This mirrors a perspective Olaf Breuning may want us to consider: that leaner, meaner, and more technologically advanced do not necessarily mean that it is better.
Breuning has never lost irony through his skilful ultra-simplification, never straying from the direct visual language that spans across all his works since the early 90s. While delving into concerns of rapid climate change and global warming, Breuning approaches these complex issues as a master aesthetic-maker. His vast, visually turbulent compositions are reminiscent of weather maps; various meteorological elements in constant disarray, shifting across an unknown, unsuspecting region. An unfolding sense of turmoil is captured here, in their striking hues of colour, and their deliberate disarrangement of the woodcut gesso prints - and somewhere within this organized chaos, he communicates a positive perspective, despite an otherwise grim future that is alluded to.
Our stance as a distant observer posits the question: What would it take for us to finally assume honest responsibility for the battered state of the nature that surrounds us? Our relationship with mother earth may have once been symbiotic, and Breuning asks for us to re-consider our habits from the past, and their problems attached, to make way for a return to a more sustainable, and harmonious way of life.
Interview with Olaf Breuning