Gert & Uwe Tobias

Selected works by Gert & Uwe Tobias

Gert & Uwe Tobias
Untitled

2007

Coloured woodcut on papers mounted on canvas

268 x 401.7 cm

In Gert and Uwe Tobias’s large-scale, carnivalesque panels we see an uncommon merging and subversion of techniques and traditions. The twin brothers, who have worked together since 2001, have created a world of their own out of reviving a diverse range of craft-based arts – wood-cuts, lace, embroidery and the national costume of their native Transylvania all find their way into their works.

Gert & Uwe Tobias
Untitled

2005

Acrylic, crayon and woodcut on paper

200 x 165 cm

In their engravings and collages traditional folk image-making skills, such as carving and hand printing, are given a twist, alchemically put through the filter of the twentieth and twenty-first century. Their exaggerated imagery, at turns abstract, geometric, fantastic and eerily animistic, carries remnants of the people in Breughel paintings, Russian Constructivism, and of Oskar Schlemmer’s stereometric figuration (as in Untitled, 2009).

Gert & Uwe Tobias
Untitled

2005

Coloured woodcut on paper

211 x 177 cm

Gert and Uwe Tobias manage to fuse the monochrome backgrounds of Yves Tanguy’s surrealist landscapes and the macabre faces of traditional apotropaeic amulets with the lightness of cartoons, worn down graffiti and schoolyard murals. There is something flayed about their figures – as if they have been peeled of their individuality, made into universal puppets or still lives.

Gert & Uwe Tobias
Untitled

2009

Woodcut on paper on canvas

4 panels, overall dimensions: 200 x 1,200 cm

Untitled (2007), composed of coloured woodcuts on papers mounted on canvas stretching over four metres in width, confronts the viewer with what look like heads precariously balanced on geometric poles that are weighed down by pulley-like arrangements. The modernist, Bauhaus-style mechanisation of the composition, dominated by primary shapes and graphic symbols – hearts, bull’s eyes – becomes animated by perverse, half-toothed grins, horns, hair and cassocks, and pop-out eyes. Two large works named Untitled (2005) riff on traditional genres of still life and portraiture, bursting with whimsical abstraction, colouring and graphic boldness as well as a darker, gothic element – those grim-reaper smiles, a veiled countenance, skeleton bones and menacing claws.


Articles

GERT AND UWE TOBIAS -MOMA REVIEW BY CHRISTOPHER CHAMBERS


Twin brothers Gert and Uwe Tobias specifically created the majority of the works in this small museum show to be exhibited in the one, custom designed gallery. The room was painted dark blue and white with sharply ruled linear accents. Hung in a quadrate, four letter-sized, framed works on paper were made by swiveling the paper around in an old typewriter, thus producing self-styled futurist 'drawings.' This technique - along with paint and collage - was also used in several other small works on paper to limn ghoulish figures in abstracted landscapes that hearken to their Transylvanian heritage. Three grisly little ceramic figures displayed atop prosaic crockery on pedestals echoed the theme.

The Salient works in the exhibition were three large (one mural scaled) woodcut prints. Their work stretched the term "prints" because, even in edition, the pieces are inherently one-of-a-kind.

Rather than cutting a pattern into planks of flat wood as in a traditional woodcut, they apply ink to jigsawed wooden shapes and press layers of color freehand over previous layers to create grainy images. The results are sometimes cartoony figuration and other times wholly abstract. The intrinsically hard-edged style of the prints resembles at turns Richard Pousette-Dart's abstract expressionism in a composition of geometric shapes and lines; a lean, expansive, mural-scaled figurative piece that lands somewhere between Ashile Gorky, Joan MirĂ³ and Pablo Picasso; and the Russian Constructivist style they employed for a poster they made for the exhibition. Novel and interesting techniques aside, the Tobias brothers have come up with an appealing and credible next step in the historic chain of picture making . The work is current because no one has done quite this before, yet it has a timeless quality which means it won't be out of style by next Tuesday.

Source: teamgal.com


PROJECTS 86: GERT AND UWE TOBIAS REVIEW BY T.J. CARLIN


The creation of art usually occurs in the theater of the ego. For Gert and Uwe Tobias, the process is a bit different. The Romanian heritage of these twin brothers and collaborators is often cited in reference to their fairy-tale imagery, but the special circumstance of fabricating an identity in tandem is equally important to their work.

The brothers experiment liberally with different processes. However, unlike the disjointed exquisite corpses of the Surrealists (where artists would add to a group drawing, often without seeing what had come before), the brothers' endeavors appear to spring from a single hand. It's particularly impressive that they achieve this seamlessness across a wide range of media (from woodcuts to ceramics), content (from figurative to abstract) and execution (from sloppy to extremely precise).

Small ceramics on pedestals in the center of the space, for instance, possess the crudeness of primary-school attempts at making Mom a new mug. Drawings made with a typewriter, on the other hand, are delicately beautiful, minutely detailed compositions built from single key strokes.

Source: timeout.com