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Maren Wellendorf

Rockface 05


Album Rockfaces, Maren Wellendorf

During the last year I started a new series called “Rock faces”. It is the result of studying the changing morphology of the mountains/landscape, but in details. The breaking rocks show the running time and life in slow motion, the transiency. My paintings show the structures, the lines and forms, of a visual reality.
I call it “realistic structuralism.”

 Maren Wellendorf, Material Sand, Maren Wellendorf Sand sammeln , Maren Wellendorf


Realistic Structuralism

The pictures of the "Rockfaces" series differ from my earlier work or from that of other artists that are usually seen. They are portraits of stones, or better of rocks and rock formations. Portraits of a nature which appear like abstract images.

They are not painted with a brush, but filled with sand and acrylic using a spatula. So far I had generally painted expressively, with acrylic or oil, and the representation remained concrete. Landscapes, architectural, human beings, etc. But especially nature offers so much more than it's visible surface. And expressionism has evolved even further, think about the styles of abstract expressionism or the "dripping" technique of a Jackson Pollock.

So I put the brushes aside and took the spatula. I put the purchased colors aside and collected sand - which reminded me of Cezanne who said: "To paint a landscape correctly I must first recognize the geological stratification." This layering appears in my environment in several places. You just have to open your eyes. It's all there. All lines, all shapes, all colors. They are already a painting and let you imagine the unbelievable forces below our feet that formed and still form our landscape.

 Are my pictures abstract? 

Only in parts. What is missing is the spontaneous impulse that creates many abstract images. The informal painting, think about Emil Schuhmacher or Jackson Pollock, is not my thing. I plan very carefully and try to construct and harmonize something unique from what I see, even though it's prescription is already to be found in real nature. Theme and material are already there; I only redesign to preserve it, the momentary and also the fundamental. Each day changes what I had seen and felt as a past. This place in the mountains, this unique rock formation, this layering there behind the curve - can not be seen the same way again a month later. Landscape is movement - and you can feel it in the earthy details of this landscape.

 Cezanne was always anxious to find constructions and harmonies parallel to nature in his pictures. 
Meaning: not to depict nature, but to compose it anew in it’s natural appropriate with color, structure and style.

In his paintings he replaces the optical reality by a formal structure, by a pure surface of the image. He plays with geometric shapes and almost reduces objects to basic shapes like circle, cube and cylinder. The spatiality of an image is created by the construction of colored surfaces and not by a color perspective (in which the colors become paler to the horizon to produce the depth of space). Cezanne defines light and shadow, volume, depth and surfaces through shades, through their contrasts, through color transitions. Cezanne develops nuances of color that remove the contours of things and almost obliterate them. In his perception even a mountain is conceived as a superimposition of forms, spaces, and bodies that rise above the ground. And these spaces and bodies develop into colored surfaces. 

It is a creative process that materializes nature anew. Cezanne was aware that by painting he had to change the natural image in order to preserve it. "Nature always stays the same, but nothing remains of her visible appearance. Our art must give it the sublimity of permanence”. Through the colors and their novel composition, their structure, he wants to create a picture-order parallel to nature. Cezanne does not want to depict nature as it is in an instant, but he wants to grasp it as essential. And he wants to express his emotions on the stage of this nature. That is why he paints it. What mediates between the things and their sensations for him is the color, leaving open how far it originates from things or is an abstraction of his eyesight. To find construction and harmony parallel to nature, this is what means landscape painting to Cezanne.

 To the collector Karl Ernst Osthaus, Cezanne emphasized on 13 April 1906 during his visit to Aix en Provence: The color must express every leap into the depth. ... "Nature is not on the surface, it is in the depths. The colors are just the expression of this depth on the surface. They rise from the roots of the world“. 

Seen this way I have the same reason and the same emotional motive as Cezanne, to deal with nature in an artistic way - but to mainly use color as a medium is not my approach.

I read the changing morphology of a landscape in it's details, in crumbling stones, in the cracks of the rocks, in the breaking of the walls, in the trickling of fine sand from a hollow. Rock and earth in their transformation indicate the unstoppable progress of time; the passing and the emergence - also of life. It is a slow process - but if you watch it regularly - it seems to be getting faster and faster. The matter is not organic, it still is rocks and stones, but the process is very lively, ongoing and everlasting at the same time. And this process gives birth to very beautiful and infinitely diverse structures that fascinate me, and whose representation and processing amaze me. My paintings show lines, shapes and sometimes bodies in existing but also composed structures of a visual reality.
That is why I call this style „Realistic Structuralism".