GALLERY BASTEJS, Riga

Alksnāja iela 7, Riga, LV-1050, Latvija

bastejs@remove.me @latnet.lv

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Gazing at Henrijs Preiss’s paintings, viewers catch sight of the impressions of various cultures – Sanskrit Vimanas or antique airplane designs, Merkaba stars, which incorporate the energy of spiritual transformation and the symbols of freemasonry. However, one could just as well argue that in Henrijs Preiss’s paintings, we can see his family’s legacy.

To cut individual fields of colour, he uses the bookbinder’s knife. Instead of being given titles, the Artefacts were numbered. The Artefacts are symmetrical compositions on veneer. Their formats are square-like. However, in as much as they are not actually squares, the works evoke a feeling of instability and being threatened. Unifying all the Artefacts like a signet ring is the initial “H”. It looks the symbol for hydrogen, the first chemical element in the Mendeleev Table. “H” appears in the bottom right-hand corner, girded with several bulwarks.

In Chicago (since 2014), Henrijs Preiss’s almond-like compositions acquired urban planning traits such as fortification system hornworks (horn-type structures) or crownworks (crown-type structures). Historically, these models of ideal cities — fortresses, have taken shape simultaneous to the consolidation of absolute rule, representing the idea of power, territorial claims, and the ability to see the big picture and individual details. Carried over into the realm of art, they draw in broad mental territories. Unless he has his own plan, a person becomes a component of someone else’s plan. And, unwittingly, the new works also testify to the threat to power-sanctuary, directing the viewer towards heroism: to die and win. However, maybe these fortifications protect the artist’s demons which could escape and destroy him?  

— Anita Vanaga

Henrijs Preiss, No 391, 2015, Acrylic on wood, 115 x 102 cm
Henrijs Preiss, No 393, 2015, Acrylic on wood, 115 x 102 cm
Henrijs Preiss, No 394, 2016, Acrylic on wood, 114 x 101 cm
Henrijs Preiss, No 395, 2016, Acrylic on wood, 114 x 101 cm
Henrijs Preiss, No 392, 2015, Acrylic on wood, 102 x 115 cm