Born in 1979, Zurich, Switzerland. Lives and works between Brussels and Santa Barbara.
It is the modernist notion of surface, and the complexity of its visual implications, Stefan Behlau continually explores through his artistic process. Having received his BFA in Drawing from New York’s esteemed Pratt Institute in 2006, Behlau’s investigation into paint as a material substance is largely informed by the pigment’s ability to expel a surface of interiority – to flatten, obscure and reorient an image into the presence of its two dimensionality.
As evident in his earlier works, such as Stereo Views and Mohawk series, surface as it relates to mechanical reproduction becomes a focal point for Behlau. The incorporation of tight, overlapping and contrasting color juxtapositions forgrounded on appropriated images is used as a tool for undermining photographic narratives, and referencing the canvas’ facade. Behlau’s prowess for the materiality of the medium has since evolved into a painterly abstraction. This is most clearly visibly in his ongoing Nova Colors series, large-scale color field works that are produced through the ceremonious pouring of Nova Color brand paint onto canvas; the pooled liquid is then pulled across the surface with an aluminum blade creating butted bands of pigment. Like oil against water, the visual properties of the paint become more pronounced through their opposition to the other, revelling in their density and saturation.
Stefan Behlau has been exhibited in the USA and Europe including exhibitions at Dittrich & Schlechtriem (Berlin), Niklas Schechinger Fine Art (Hamburg), Art Center Los Angeles, Angstrom Gallery (Dallas) and Regina Rex (New York).