Enthralled by the destructive yet enchanting practices characteristic of contemporary global tourism, and particularly the voracious Wanderlust of his native compatriots, painter Franz Ackermann has devoted his career to examining this phenomenon and its cultural, social, and environmental consequences. The artist travels extensively and documents his impressions by drawing what he calls “mental maps.” A far cry from representation, these drawings record Ackermann’s intuitive reactions and perceptions of each place he visits, and they go on to inform his large-scale paintings and installations. Ackermann’s paintings, many of them wall-size, are playfully abstract and flamboyantly colorful, comprising psychedelic explosions of concentric circles, spiraling loops, and radiating orbs. Those geometric patterns are juxtaposed with stereotypical images within the tourism industry, such as airplanes, hotels, and ocean piers, though notably the human figure is rarely present. Ackermann’s technique poses relevant questions about the nature of abstraction and the ethics of travel.
Ackermann has exhibited widely around the world, including nationally at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.