Artist Spotlight: Wilhelm Neusser

Neusser working in his studio, Summer 2018. Image courtesy of the artist.

Wilhelm Neusser is a contemporary painter, known for his strikingly moody landscapes, rich with texture. Born in Cologne, Germany, Neusser’s childhood home provided his initial inspiration. He recalls paintings of hunting dogs and ducks, echoing his family’s farming and hunting lineage, lining the walls of his house. Throughout his painting career he has experimented with various subjects, but sees an exceptional value in the open space for exploration in a landscape. For Neusser, “A landscape painting is a metaphorical space that invites the eye and mind to wander and wonder and for the viewer to project.” 

Neusser relocated to the United States in 2011, and his subject matter gradually transitioned to the landscapes found in his current body of work. Recently, Neusser is inspired by the western art of the 19th century, including German Romanticism, Turner and Constable in England, and the Hudson River School in the US. He is drawn to the way these movements are “both nostalgic and progressive” and seeks to incorporate these themes in his own work.

The artist currently has paintings in three exhibitions across two continents. Nocturne/Doublemoon (1729), a work drawing from the German romantic tradition and Murakami’s recent novel IQ84 will be on view at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery for the month of October, while its partner piece is currently on exhibition at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA (through the end of 2018). Neusser’s impressive museum and gallery shows are a testament to his paintings’ resonance with contemporary viewers.

Nocturne/Doublemoon (1729), oil on canvas, 48 x 68 in. installed in the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery.

Several of Neusser’s cranberry bog paintings for Field Trip, his solo exhibition in Karlsruhe, Germany.

While Nocturne/Doublemoon (1729) is a quintessential painting by Neusser - a haunting, rich landscape - lately, he has been working on a new series. During our summer studio visit with the artist, we had the opportunity to view his recent cranberry bog paintings. Entering the meticulously clean studio space, a plastic drop cloth lines the walls to protect them from paint - and also catches the deep, maroon paint splatters left behind when creating this body of work. The paintings were drying, just in time to leave Neusser’s Somerville studio and head overseas to Galerie Knecht & Burster in Karlsruhe, Germany, where his work is featured in the solo exhibition, Field Trip (on view through October 13th). Inspired by New England’s cranberry harvest, the subject was new for Neusser and presents a North American scenery to a German audience.

Neusser remains adamant about letting each work speak for itself. He sees his works as open for interpretation:

“Ideally viewers don’t need to know much about the work or the artist. If they spend some time allowing the paintings to unfold and for themselves to explore the space between the known and unknown, that would be great.”

Throughout decades of artistic exploration, Neusser has remained committed to challenging the viewer to explore the multitude of layers landscape painting has to offer. To see his paintings in person, stop by the Nocturne group exhibition at the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, on display from October 3rd through October 28th.

Available work by Wilhelm Neusser