Joachim Bandau: Black and Yellow Watercolours

March 5 - 26, 2022

Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce Black and Yellow Watercolours, an exhibition of paintings by Joachim Bandau. The exhibition will open on March 5th and run until March 26th, with an opening day reception on Saturday, March 5th. This is Bandau's third solo exhibition at the gallery. 


Joachim Bandau lives and works in Achen, Germany and Staefa, Switzerland. He is celebrated throughout Europe for his more than 50-year career of making sculptures, installations, and paintings. He began painting watercolors in 1983 as an alternative to drawing, a medium that had always informed his sculptures. Inspired by classical music, the watercolours are nuanced in their technique, requiring patience and a delicate hand. Bandau’s paintings emerge over time, by applying layer after layer, from light to dark, with large Japanese brushes. The paint must dry between each application of pigment and the process can take months, sometimes years until a work is deemed to be finished. While the technical feat of completing each painting is remarkable, it is the poetic visual experience that resonates.


The majority of Bandau’s watercolours have been in painted in black, but he made a series of pure cadmium yellow watercolours for a short period between 2004 to 2006. This exhibition marks the first time they have been shown in Canada. Whereas the black watercolours appear to absorb light creating an indefinite deep space, the yellow watercolours seem to radiate light outwards. The intensity of colour in these rare and impressive works evokes an ethereal experience, akin to other great colour field paintings. The yellow watercolours are constructed in the same manner as the black watercolours, slowly and over time, and yet they achieve a completely opposite effect. In looking at the two series side by side, we become acutely aware of our intimate relationship to colour and space.


While the black works are determined by a basic metaphysical and meditative impulse, the yellow seems to jump at the viewer with the speed of light, completely and almost physically occupying the room and its visitors. With the yellow watercolors we experience the thing that motivates all painting, at least in its essence: the evocation of color as a reality that is in a position to create its own light, its own space and its own temporality.

– Stephan Berg


To watch an exhibition walkthrough, click here.