Mr. Peeps, home at Mike Weiss Gallery

 “The Home of Mr. Peeps” (2015). Oil on canvas. 74 3/4 x 90 1/2 in. (190 x 230 cm). Courtesy Mike Weiss Gallery.

“The Home of Mr. Peeps” (2015). Oil on canvas. 74 3/4 x 90 1/2 in. (190 x 230 cm). Courtesy Mike Weiss Gallery.

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN | In her fourth exhibition with the gallery (“Stefanie Gutheil: The Home of Mr. Peeps”), the artist invites her audience to dive deep into her imagination.

“A Walk in the Forest” (2015). Oil on canvas, 62 x 50 in. (157.5 x 127 cm). Courtesy Mike Weiss Gallery.

“A Walk in the Forest” (2015). Oil on canvas, 62 x 50 in. (157.5 x 127 cm). Courtesy Mike Weiss Gallery.

Her saturated compositions frequently embrace otherworldly landscapes that are populated with a colorful array of fable creatures. Stylistically, these paintings can border on the bizarre, perhaps sourcing from German Expressionism as much as children’s book illustrations. It is one of Gutheil’s key strengths that her language can be easily discussed in reference to the work of Max Beckmann, Alfred Kubin, or the German author and illustrator Annegert Fuchshuber.

At first glance, her works appear playful. Upon closer inspection, however, they reveal an underlying sense of empathy for the mysterious subjects at hand.

It would be far-fetched to claim that this Berlin-based artist is seeking to address existential themes — but her protagonists are not meant to merely entertain us. In fact, they seem to ask something of the audience as well. As their uncensored “otherness” transforms into loneliness, they face us, pleading for acceptance.

Through Jan. 30 at Mike Weiss Gallery (520 W. 24th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 212-691-6899 or visit mikeweissgallery.com.

Installation view of “Stefanie Gutheil: The Home of Mr. Peeps.” Courtesy Mike Weiss Gallery.

Installation view of “Stefanie Gutheil: The Home of Mr. Peeps.” Courtesy Mike Weiss Gallery.

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