Art in America, Feb, 2005 by Stephen Maine
Having exhibited widely in Europe, Dusseldorf-based Dirk Skreber recently made his New York solo debut with a show consisting of three enormous oils (99 by 158 inches each) derived from magazine and Internet photographs, and a fourth, quite different canvas of the same size that related to a sculptural installation in the gallery's back room. The five works, all 2004, had in common an eerie, oppressive stillness and sense of dread.
The photographic nature of the source material for Untitled (Nowhereland) dominates the painting, an arresting image of a flooded interchange on a rural expressway, in bright daylight, with nobody in sight. The motif is framed from an aerial vantage point. The foliage is cursory, as if the artist were cleaning his brushes, but the receding watery plane that stretches across the canvas is quite beautiful, a delicate blue-gray across the top of the picture sinking to murky bronzy greens along the bottom. It is sliced through by curling, chalky bands of roadway. The lagoon within the loop formed by each flooded approach ramp is filled with an unexpected and unidentifiable black oval. Another work renders a tiny island surrounded by flecked, reef-lined waters and marked by weirdly fleshy-colored thatched-roof huts. The village is unpeopled, which makes it spooky. A tarry beach sets off the pink and green landmass from the encircling azure sea, isolating it like a scab.
BLUM & POE - DIRK SKREBER
ArtForum, Sept, 2001 by Christopher Miles
Dirk Skreber's recent works are disasters. In the paintings especially, the built environment meets its match in the original expression of the hand of God on a bad day: the flood.
Skreber's paintings romp in the buffer zone between abstraction and representation, engaging in material play that seems less about irony or gee-whiz effects than about expedient ways of laying down color or line at the service of an image. In Untitled (brown flood) (all works 2001), perfect rows of packing tape cover the massive canvas; the slight color variations repeated uniformly in the tape, a byproduct of the manufacturing process, are aligned to create diagonal tipples that read as both an Op-ish visual effect and a representation of wind disturbing the surface of muddy water. This is, after all, an aerial view, and the brightly colored, lozenge-shaped marks in oil paint on the tape turn Out to be the roofs of cars not yet completely submerged beneath the rising flood, some still lined up in the places where they were parked and some just beginning to be swept along. Tape also forms the ground of Untitled (black flood), here a slightly shiny but dark void from which emerge a few angular shapes, aligne d according to a skewed grid: the roofs of buildings along city streets popping up above the flood line at night, or perhaps at midday with lusciously dank water.