Installation view, Adrian Geller, Cloudburst, 2023. François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, CA
“Dew drops scattered as if the sky had cut his strings of pearls.”
François Ghebaly is proud to present Cloudburst by Adrian Geller, the Swiss artist’s first exhibition in Los Angeles.
In Cloudburst, Geller centers his focus on the subject of sudden rain. Exploring the ecstatic balance between “comfort” and “danger,” Geller finds this duality most vivid in our relationship with nature. Reflecting on human reactions to rainfall, he considers both the natural inclination to stay dry and the freedom when surrendering to the elements.
Geller captures his subjects’ romance, abandon, and pensive tension as they navigate the splendor of a rainstorm. Applying thin washes of paint, Geller creates a soft, rolling mist that travels across his works’ settings. Using deep, cool-toned colors, Geller’s thicker, more textured brush strokes create, in certain places, the sharp appearance of tesselating raindrops as they fall on subjects in the foreground. While some figures use their hands for cover or grasp their umbrellas tightly as they leap toward shelter, others stand fixed, soaking in and contemplating the moment. Gray clouds twist and swirl above; trees sway, rivers and waterfalls surge, and dew drops glitter as the distant fog rolls in.
Cloudburst encourages viewers to observe the mesmerizing forces of water, wind, and light. In Geller’s own words, “there is a kind of deliverance that happens when you just give up on not getting soaked.” In La Rosée (2022), a dew-dropped dog hovers mid-air for a split second over a puddle. The canine’s black fur appears almost like a void or portal that opens into a starry expanse—the celestial dog sprints across a wet forest floor as if just released.
Two paintings, Autumn Shower (2022) and Shelter (2022) both convey a romantic fantasy of home, comfort, and love; an innocent future the artist envisions building with his partner. Geller believes that embracing one’s naivety can often lead to a greater sense of humanity and goodness. This sentiment is echoed in the work of artists like Robert Walser and the film “Lazzaro Felice” by Alice Rohrwacher. Geller’s figures seek shelter against the surrounding dampness and chill. The element of cover, such as an umbrella or rooftop, suggest a sense of protection and peacefulness against the drama and intensity of a thunderstorm. Cloudburst reveals the universe’s dynamism and encourages viewers to greet stormy skies. Capturing the epic, aggressive essence of the natural world and humanity’s place within it, Geller’s paintings foreground the process of release and encapsulate the majesty of the bursting clouds above.