Ellen Gronemeyer

*1979 in Fulda, Germany

Ellen Gronemeyer, Tipsy Cat 2, 2008/09, oil on canvas, 40,5 x 30,5 x 2 cm, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation © the artist and Kimmerich Galerie / Photo: Simon Vogel

The small-format painting with the associative title Tipsy Cat 2 by Ellen Gronemeyer shows a person, presumably a young woman with whiskers, who is in an interior room. The artist uses the classical genre of the three-quarter portrait in this depiction, with the top piece of her head cut off and half of her body disappearing behind a table-like piece of furniture. The background is dominated by a wall arrangement divided into rectangles. The colour scheme is dominated by a black and white contrast, which Gronemeyer, however, further differentiates by shades of grey. In keeping with her style, she uses an impasto, strongly material-based painting technique, which, like the black and white contrast, varies between coarse and finely spatulaed sections. This dichotomy continues to run like a thread through the painting. While sharp-edged contouring sets the tone in the background, circular, rounded forms, which become far more popular in later works by the artist, and fine lines already increase in importance for the female figure in the centre in this work. The figure’s clothing and dark, long hair harmonise with the background of the same colour and are only set off from it by light, fine contours. The otherwise predominant dark colouring is in strong opposition to the light pink lips and the same-coloured shading of the eyes on the otherwise white face. The light grey bow on the lapel and the finger pointing at something or thoughtfully stroking the plate against which the figure is leaning also make it seem dreamy and absent.

The gloomy mood of the clothes and the room in combination with the cat-woman gazing laconically into the distance creates a grotesque scene. Compared to Gronemeyer’s contemporaneous works, this work has an atypically clear depiction characterised by discreet yet obvious contrariety.

JL