New Paintings and Sketches. By excluding any narrative element from her painting and letting the work speak for itself, her colours take on a reality outside of their own existence. The colour of a whole work becomes both concrete and abstract at the same time, making an impact both as a physical and metaphysical presence.
New Paintings and Sketches
This first London solo exhibition by the highly acclaimed German colour painter Sybille Berger features three new major works alongside recent paintings and related sketches.
By excluding any narrative element from her painting and letting the work speak for itself, her colours take on a reality outside of their own existence. The colour of a whole work becomes both concrete and abstract at the same time, making an impact both as a physical and metaphysical presence. These paintings speak to an intuitive receptive level within us, becoming like a projection surface for the observer.
Berger creates sketches which she makes on canvas at a small scale before choosing each idea. These are displayed in the Long Gallery alongside major works in the Main Space to demonstrate the relationship between the development of the ideas for each painting and the emphatic and pristine physical presence of the final works. Each individual piece of work has gradually become a play between three colours which have been built up upon the surface by successive layers of thin paint applied with paint rollers.
The first impression of Sybille Berger's paintings is that of darkly saturated colour planes arrayed on large square canvases across the walls of the Cafe Gallery. Upon closer inspection, however, we discover that each colour area within a work of three areas, has been constructed from a separate stretcher, six centimetres deep, and that these abutted horizontal objects form a mass of coloured volumes which is a little taller than it is broad. The larger central volume of each work which stilly draws the gaze, is flanked, top and bottom by narrower bands which the artist makes in such a way as to be reciprocally emphatic about their distinct relationship to it.
The specificity of Berger's colours derive from an experimental approach, which, whilst totally unique to the artist herself is nonetheless closer to that of Joseph Albers, than to say, Herman von Helmholtz or Wassily Kandinsky. Berger creates her palette as a contingent part of the painting process whereby each adjustment to the tone and colour of the large works is recorded. Prior to the application of the paint, Berger makes a large horizontal test strip on white paper using a loaded roller of acrylic and pigment. These strips are arranged in view as a material resource from which to cut out the tiny colour swatches, miniature horizontal bands about six centimetres across, that become the elements of the preparatory drawings and from which she chooses the ideas to be developed in the large paintings so forming a completed cycle of events.
Sybille Berger is represented by Galerie m Bochum, Bochum, Germany.
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