November 20th, 2020

60 Lispenard Street

P: 212 925 4631

New York, NY

Rayos de





Detail of Robert Janitz's Backslash Friday

Canada is pleased to present Rayos de Sombra, an online exhibition of five new works by Robert Janitz created in Mexico City. Rayos de Sombra translates to 'shadow rays' in English, an apt title for paintings that utilize light and shadow to emphasize the artist’s signature gestural marks. Janitz (born Alsfeld, West Germany in 1962) was raised and educated in Germany and then spent a significant stint in Paris before settling in New York where he has resided for the past ten years. Each of these three locations have distinctive histories of visual art and painting in particular, and each stop has influenced the way Janitz approaches his own painting practice. Despite his varied background, Janitz’s paintings are direct and elemental. The seeming simplicity of the works masks a rigorous and thoughtful exploration of painting and its inherent qualities.


Janitz in his studio, Brooklyn, NY (Photo: by Pazos)

Janitz generally begins by applying a gradient of color to a carefully prepared linen ground. He then covers these backgrounds with sweeping gestural marks that often mimic the format of the canvas. These impasto shapes also refer to work-a-day manual labor such as plastering or spreading butter on toast. The end result can be reminiscent of geometric letterforms–– like the ones used in Sanskrit, a language the artist studied. The paintings display an investment in materiality. By adding wax, oil, or even flour to his paint Janitz achieves an array of effects that range from gauzy to thickly opaque. Janitz has an inventive palette that he uses to create individual planes of color that develop a nearly three-dimensional effect. The paintings become a meditation on the subtlety of color, density, and shape.

Robert Janitz lives and works in Mexico City and New York. His work has been included in group exhibitions internationally, including in New York, Paris, Berlin, London, Istanbul and Brussels. Recent solo exhibitions include Canada, New York (2018), König Galerie, London (2019), Team Gallery, New York (2017, 2015), Meyer Riegger, Berlin, Germany (2017, 2015, 2014), Shoot The Lobster, New York (2012), and Clearing, New York (2012, 2011). Janitz was a professor at École Supérieure Des Beaux Arts, Cherbourg, France in 2009 and a guest lecturer of visual arts at University Paris 8, Paris, France from 2003 to 2007. Robert is represented by Canada, New York, and König Galerie, Germany. 

A monograph for the artist, titled Robert Janitz: Made In New York is available for purchase


[12:24 PM, 11/16/2020] Christiana Boyle: Robert, is there any particular literature you've been reading as of recent? Any music?


[12:34 PM, 11/16/2020] Robert Janitz: It's strange. Music yes plays a big part. For weeks I listen to the same because it helps me focus... In Mexico City I listen to Jazz like Emily Remler - the album East to Wes - or Charles Mingus - Live at the Bohemia - in New York, I am basically only listening to Chavela Vargas - a voice full of tragic -comedy- big Mexican classic.

[12:36 PM, 11/16/2020] Robert Janitz: I like this type of Music for its freedom and the bold performance.


Robert Janitz
Words, 2020
Oil, wax, flour on linen
130 × 100 cm (51 ⅛ × 39 ⅜ inches)

[12:39 PM, 11/16/2020] Robert Janitz: a book that got me through the past few months: David Rattray: How I Became One of the Invisible. Semiotexte... A linguist who became an east village avantgarde poet. 70 ties - 80 ties guy. This book is made of essays. Brilliant, weird, real.

[12:44 PM, 11/16/2020] Robert Janitz: and also Spanish grammar! A lot to get a grasp of. Spanish is fascinating. I've been studying for 1.5 years now... How Spanish syntax makes me think differently... how they construct their take on the 'world' ... the Subjunctive plays a huge part in Spanish... (I wish I were here) unlike English it plays out much more in realms of present future and past possibilities...


Robert Janitz
An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter, 2020
Oil, wax, flour on linen
130 × 100 cm (51 ⅛ × 39 ⅜ inches)


Robert Janitz
Backslash Friday, 2020
Oil, wax, flour on linen
130 × 100 cm (51 ⅛ × 39 ⅜ inches)


Robert Janitz
Wahrscheinlich Sonnenuntergang, 2020
Oil, wax, flour on linen
65 × 50 cm (25 ⅝ × 19 ⅝ inches)

[1:00 PM, 11/16/2020] Robert Janitz: Another novel I was obsessed with is Cesar Aira: An Episode in the Life of a Landscape painter.

[1:02 PM, 11/16/2020] Robert Janitz: Stunning reflections on landscape and the human condition... it's mostly the narrative position that fascinates me; that I find teaches me about an attitude in painting... I learn from music and books about how to paint.


Robert Janitz
A great beach house, 2020
Oil, wax, flour on linen
65 × 50 cm (25 ⅝ × 19 ⅝ inches)

Photo: by Pazos

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