Artist: Emanuel Seitz
Venue: Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt
Date: May 28 – July 11, 2010
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Galerie Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt
“I do not employ painting as an end in itself, but as the means to realize an idea. My concept used to be to sense landscape. Now it is more an abstract exhibition with colour fields. This also forms a sort of landscape.”
A colour is transparent or opaque, lighter or darker, pure or broken, ex or introverted. To these measurable qualities come the sensations that they cause, which are affected by individual associations. The factors which affect these qualities allude to the interplay of material and structure, of size, format and position in space, of what is meant and not meant.
The perception of the reciprocal effects of colours with external and internal circumstances requires only one exhersion: concentration. For the difference between simple sensation and conscious perception of colour requires an adaptation of the sense of sight towards nuances, as happens in the adjustment of the eye to darkness. This adjustment, which cannot be accelerated, calls for both passive and active mindfulness; the devoted waiting for the gradual emergence of forms, together with the will for knowledge.
Emanuel Seitz developed this awareness, as receptive as it is insistent, in the dark painting mentioned at the beginning, as he expanded the scale of what, for a lack of terminological alternatives, is subsumed as ‘black’ using various paints and grounds. Whether chalky brush strokes on rough canvas, or pasteous textures, which were not so much surfaces as shallow reliefs – Seitz demonstrated the potential of darkness to an extent which felt the lack of other colours like Gregorian chants did the whistle. This sensibility, developed on a scale between light grey and deep black, comes to bare in his current works, in which now the dark palette surrounds few coloured zones. Distinct from contrived effects, the forms created from pure pigment emerge not as figures upon a ground, but thanks to their lively structure are melded with their no less profiled environment.
And here is what is special about Seitz’s tradition-rich preoccupation with the relationship between form, colour and materiality. The image-architecture of both the large and small-format works consists of interlocking elements, which successfully manage the precarious balance of geometric and organic outlines. Geometric base forms – rectangle, triangle, frustum, semicircle and steps – are positioned horizontally and vertically and so maintain a stability of form within sometimes quite a riot of colour. Regardless of the expressive contours of the zones of pigment, the verticals dominate with an ascending tendency. In contrast, the horizontal areas build a centre of gravity which prevents the composition from drifting apart.
While Seitz uses complex procedures to distribute the bright pigments into sandy, sparkling and cloudy fields and temperamentally structured strips, and so enlivens every inner form; the general absence of diagonal fields and free lines preserves a calm in which manifestations of each colour come to light. With the principle of controlledaccidents, Seitz brings about unpredictable processes in order to cause non-classified reactions, for example between cadmium yellow and the green spectrum. In contrast to some types of gesture painting, the areas that form independently do not result in turmoil, rather are controlled by the discipline of thehieratic looking forms.
Despite the unavoidable musical associations, the sometimes separate, sometimes arranged tones hold a particular silence, which recalls Menhire. The monumental strands, which emanate from all the forms, regardless of their physical format, has been translated into the three-dimensional by Seitz and placed in the centre of the exhibition in the form of an anthracite-coloured cube. The plane embodied in the stele-like sculpture ties and emphasizes the paintings’ recurring motif of ascension and separates the two spaces into a multitude of viewpoints onto the paintings which dramatically change in shifting light.