Douglas Rieger: Concealer

21 July - 3 September 2022
Capsule Shanghai is pleased to present Concealer, an exhibition of new work by Douglas Rieger. Rieger’s new series of works explores the relationship between recipient and foreign fleshy bodies through imposing pressures in soft wall reliefs and freestanding sculptures. The forms contain unexpected interactions in the duality of figuration and material to hint at self-contained conditions of bodies. In the exhibition, Rieger has created succinct narratives of interactions, wherein freestanding sculptures are individuals experiencing elastic moments depicted in the surrounding wall reliefs. 

Rieger pulls inspiration from many areas to inform his practice; interior design, fashion, motorcycle culture, industrial decay, product packaging, manufacturing processes and masculine archetypes to name a few. Certain recurring themes weave throughout his oeuvre, most notably notions of male identity and masculinity, the disjunction between fine art and craftsmanship, and the varying presence or anonymity of the persona traceable in a physical object. Appropriating forms from their original context and using them as bodily appendage, architecture element and art form, Rieger brings forth aspects of the mechanical, the humorous, the hormonal, and the unknown in his wall sculptures and freestanding works.

The works on show demonstrate an ongoing interest in bodily abstraction and material fluidity, themes that pervade much of Rieger’s work. With a nod to the formal compositions of Modernism, the soft wall reliefs created with vinyl upholstered as canvas convey an applied pressure and intimacy between surface and object. Open to viewer’s curiosity, the pressure may be perceived as intimate, aggressive, languid, humorous, or more. The applied object being both protector and intruder, the upholstered vinyl surfaces of the soft reliefs show a tension created by the presence of the sculpted wooden object.

A new series of wall sculptures made of collaged wood scraps and steel are also on view. Assembling casts-offs from various projects rapidly and intuitively to a panel, Rieger is contemplating the relationship between order and chaos. The steel, applied after the panel collage is assembled, is used to create a second rhythmic element adding an opposing order to the whole construction. These works are the first in a new series of experiments by the artist.

The title of the show “Concealer” is in reference to make-up products and also to conceal the truth or obstruct true meaning. Throughout the exhibition, the works relate to this in their ambiguity but also in the application of materials and color pallet of natural and neutral tones. To conceal something reveals that there is something beneath to hide. This often results in a need to discover or investigate what lies beneath.