Leitmantel celebrates seven years of friendship between Jason K. Brown and Veit Schmidleitner, whose paths first crossed in New York. What started as an exchange of thoughts on techniques and surfaces turned into an ongoing dialogue about life, spirituality, and the entangle- ment of sorcery and paint. Now they make their debut in a duo show in Germany, showcasing their work at PERG Gallery, in Ludwigsburg.
Brown and Schmidleitner connect deeply through their artis- tic pursuits, particularly a shared passion for industrial paint (lacquer), meticulous surface work, and precise crafts- manship. For this show each artist created works uni- que to their visual universe, veritable Pandora’s boxes of philosophies and meanings.
Jason K. Brown’s work is driven by what he calls “Leitman- tel,” German for “guide coat,” a technical step of industrial paint processes. In this step, a contrasting material is ap- plied to a surface to reveal irregularities that need to be in- filled to achieve a smooth surface. A metaphysical reading
of this process, however, is a path or clues to follow, guidance which was crucial during the confusion of the COVID-19 pandemic. These times not only transformed life in general but also influenced the work these ar- tists created.
In Brown’s elements of the exhibition, a main chord struck is the playfulness and simplicity of basic shapes. Circles, ellipses, and rectangles are used to explain the world to children. These shapes reduce complex con- cepts to make them understandable on an emotional, rather than a rational, level. Similarly Brown’s circular “lids” have complicating air bubbles on their surface that are designed never to burst. They are frozen in time, the air of that moment lasting seemingly forever. These objects are presented alongside new works on paper seen through elliptical cut-outs, their shape perhaps alluding to femininity. All works included in “Leitmantel” follow this line of thought.
Schmidleitner’s contribution to the show is built around rails, rectangles, and angles—symbols of tracks to ei- ther follow or use to get lost. His previous rail configurations have been shown in groups, with up to seven of the sculptures creating a complete work. Now the artist shows them in twos, emphasizing their track aspect and the exhibition as a duo. These groupings have a more intimate scale than before, adapting to the gallery space.
Colors as symbols pervade Schmidleitner’s pieces. Ultramarine and black with white dots are metaphors for the sky, a recurring theme for the artist; fluorescent orange as an underlying tone alludes to traffic signs and streams. Various technical surfaces trade play with color for haptics. In this presentation of his work, destruc- tion—of surfaces and artworks generally—also plays an outsize role, a kind of iconoclasm.
Fortune juxtaposes new work by friends Jason K. Brown and Veit Schmidleitner to illuminate how their relationship has expanded the technical and conceptual frameworks in their respective bodies of work. The exhibition runs from October 17 through November 19, 2023, at PERG Gallery, located at Asperger Str. 12, 71634, Ludwigsburg, Germany.
Schmidleitner, a multi-talented individual, serves as a developer and researcher for both NASA and BASF. In his artistic endeavors, he boldly explores the boundaries of technology and materials, reimagining their conventional purposes to craft sculptures and paintings that transport observers into entirely unfamiliar realms. Harnessing the intricate principles of metamerism, Schmidleitner delves into the intricate interplay of color and light using specially concocted pigments that are uniquely his own. Through this innovative approach, his works communicate in a distinctive visual language that is entirely their own. His use of physical metal panels introduces fragments of an unfinished narrative that beckons more questions than it offers answers. The contours and distortions of these surfaces give rise to reflections that not only unveil the art itself but also the enigmatic reality within which these creations exist.
Jason Brown (b. 1974, Jacksonville, Florida) emerged as an artist in the 1990‘s, as a student attending an arts high school. Brown went on to study at The School Of Visual Arts. Brown‘s diverse and formally innovative practice includes painting, sculpture, photography, and drawing, as well as prints. Subversive engagement with the languages of minimalism, pop art, and abstraction.