Robert Scherkl

Landscape and abstraction

Abstraction and representationalism: the representational reference is the landscape, often the forest, but not in such a way that a picture is abstracted from the forest. But the landscape arises in the material trace of the paint drawn with the palette knife or the squeegee. The picture develops from the painting process. One must let arise, make the fruitful coincidence possible. This is the given, the sometimes unforeseen, in which we can intervene to give form to chance. In the end, there is indeed the illusion of a forest reflected in a lake, which on closer inspection presents itself as pure painting.
The seascapes also play with the abstract, but differently: at first glance they seem photorealistic. The paintings were executed with barely discernible brush marks. They are empty; any evidence of man and culture has been erased. What remains are the sea, the sky, and a horizon line in between. Or, to put it another way: what remains are horizontal bands. In the wave pictures, these are also missing. Here there is not even a horizon line on which the viewer could orientate himself - only whirlpools, waves and eddies, in which hardly more representational motives can be identified.
The painted landscape is memory and imagination. No copy. That is also not possible. For the landscape we see and interpret is only the snapshot of an uninterrupted succession of states, brought about by natural changes or cultural interventions, which dismisses any assertion of finality or primordial state as a delusion. Landscape formations dissolve and reform.
As in the painting. Layers of paint are applied and peeled away again. In the squeegeed landscape paintings, the final image is not fixed from the beginning, but emerges. The chronology of growth is inscribed in the layers of paint.

Still live

In the traditional sense, fruit still lifes are vanitas images. As such, they deny worldly splendor, point to a world in constant decay, and yet are themselves valuable artisanal testimonies to abundance. The idea of transience is contradicted by the painting itself, and it is in this dichotomy that its dialectical power is revealed.

The fruit still lifes test a new interpretation of the still life. The naturalistically mediated pictorial object appears in isolation, in dialogue with a background that thematizes the materiality and momentum of color. Compositional rigor and motivic isolation emphasize the purely aesthetic features of the painting. Despite - and perhaps because of - the high sensual presence of the fruits, the categories of the representational and the non-representational lose their significance.

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