Raphaela Simon (b. 1986) is known for her paintings of simple, non-distinct forms set against monochromatic backdrops. To make these, the artist works in several stages, overpainting and modifying elements in a slow, continuous process. Simon generates forms of palimpsests, with colours shining through the different layers, adding nuances to the compositions. Often evoking portraits, Simon’s works are titled after ordinary objects and motifs, thereby suggesting a latent figurative potential; through this action, the artist plays with the desire of the viewer to imbue abstract forms with meaning. Recently, Simon began creating elaborate objects and figures in fabric which, carefully staged, develop their own narration and a dialogue with the works on canvas.
"[…] Ms. Simon explores the territory between representation and pure abstraction […] She cherry-picks ideas about simple geometries (and stripes) from Peter Halley, Frank Stella and Agnes Martin, but filters them through her own notions of wit, scale, materials and abbreviation. It is of utmost importance that her oil surfaces are layered, which gives them solidity, and that the edges of her many stripes rarely seem ruled, which gives them life."
— Roberta Smith, The New York Times, 2018
Image: Teppichgeschäft, 2016, oil on canvas, 200 x 170 cm