View In A Room
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VIEW IN MY ROOM
VIEW IN MY ROOM
Painting: Oil on Canvas.
A Tribute to Gaia
During the pandemic, I looked for parallels in the history of art and rediscovered the Deluge and Maelstrom drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. I was always very interested in this series. I just liked the squiggly clouds that swirl and seem to dance with the earth. However, I now realized that these drawings were something special for Leonardo. He has devoted himself to this topic again and again with no real "reason". Basically, these drawings anticipate modern art because they were created without a special order and are also completely free to design. Perhaps they are testimony to the first free art because atypical for Da Vinci, they do not depict nature, but rather imagine its impossibility.
Inspired by this rediscovery, I was interested in the possibility of viral “natural drawings” made of pure color, without the use of a pen or brush, and also without further aesthetic borrowing, that is to say quasi-abstract.
Similar to the times of the Renaissance, we try to experience the world, or rather the earth, our planet, as a whole again. Climate change, pollution and litter pose a direct threat to us, and the results of our interventions fundamentally question all of our prospects. We get to the small point on the actor on the surface of the earth again, but we no longer command. We hope and try to avoid. We can even understand the countermovement and regret our guilt with a guilty conscience. Consider a penalty possible. The universe could strike back and make us disappear.
But first of all, the view that could change is of interest. If nature does not take place in the laboratory or dissection box, who is looking at whom in nature? Who is sitting on the longer lever? Who dictates and who tries to understand? And what is “consistent” or sustainable with these other words? Either we swim or we drown. It is not a question of whether, but how. Latour proposes a reversible perspective on progress.
In this situation I am interested in a diary description of everyday influences with the means of painting. I mark out the shape of a square in which the natural force presented should unfold. This spectacle is called landscape. In nature, perception goes hand in hand with aesthetics. It is astonishing to note that ugliness is hardly to be found in nature, and all this is rather a description of human perception, or simply its inability. We believe that we have tamed nature, Deluge & Maelstrom can decorate our rooms to please us. If there were horror in nature, it would retreat to the inside, to the smallest or invisible, in aerosols to which viruses are attached.
The series originated in the impulse of life itself. The work largely avoids composition, may be based on structural changes, but takes place in a fast flow in which no conventional reflection can occur. It is not thought, it is simply allowed to create spaces; Eyes, hands and material as ambassadors of what was once called nature.
The Nomads Square
The conceptual and non-representational series The Nomads Square invites you to a self-engendering aesthetic discovery. As with other series, the artist prefers a given format (30 x 30 cm) and employs oil paint which is applied to the canvas in massive layers using a spatula or similar tools. New work is created each day without following a preconceived “protocol”. In this way, individual images seem to diverge in development, yet others claim spontaneous eruptions to become a singular existence. There is a constant progression lying in condensing, digging, experimenting and dissolving.
The manner of work is similar to that of a calligrapher. In quick succession, stages of work and decisions are guided intuitively, as well as completely rejected or newly created. The tendency towards virtuosity - in the sense of Asian mastery - merges with the lifestyle of the nomads of Mongolia.
The artist has lived and experienced nomadic culture in numerous trips and projects in the Mongolian steppes. Just as nomads do not actually travel to “foreign” land, but “travel” on “their” earth, with which they feel connected, so the canvas here offers an entrance to an infinite variation of introspection of the smallest perceptible units. Nomadic life endures. It moves on and leaves what is. Many terms used today such as holism, sustainability, species-appropriate husbandry, climate-friendly, management of waste prevention etc. are not new in the nomadic perspective but rather parameters of natural life. Here, the artist takes the canvas as an example of a changing location.
Similar to the mandala The Infinite City, which is visualized as a perfect square arrangement and symbol of the world with the meditator above the head, the artist uses the canvas as a daily mirror to understand the world.
The artist breaks free from convention and appropriates some of the most advanced technical components from the latest “revolution” in arts. With these new transformational enabling tools in painting, along with the traditional techniques from art, science, philosophy, poetry and industriy, the artist articulates and facilitates his deeply personal exploration into the fundamental questions of the human condition. During the process, he erases the gap between modernity and tradition, reality and unreality, life and substance, between individuals, and even the essential difference between humanity and other forms of life.
Marc`s painting practice may contribute to this sensitivity to the “unexpected” state, which makes him often stop before the changes of daily things and rethink the habits and laws in his own consciousness and behavior. Together with other similar events, “accident” promotes his repeated examination of the substance and functionality of painting materials, and furthermore makes him interact with a certain painting tradition.
Consistent, Marc prefers to find the traces of painting from real life itself. Following this path, he tried to combine freely and “accidentally” these simple structures and materials in an atypical way, and treat the material properties from a daily perspective, emphasizing the function and potential carried by the structure itself, or spread, reinforce, wrap, tighten, so that the structure upon the surface coat amid the colors would generate a fluid and unfinished state. Gradually, he realized that only after the disintegration of nature entirely, in the traditional sense of painting, the dialogue between elements would become liberated, making it possible to produce a new wholeness and new relations.
Prof MARK GISBOURNE:
NOMAD AS MONAD
The journey of nomads is a collective singularity, apassage of phases that encompasses aggregation and an accumulative approach. For nomadism is tied to foraging (searching) within a temporal passage, that is to say of an undefined duration operating within a continuum. At the same time nomadism is of narration and also has its origins in the singular, the first nomads were the hunter-gatherers, and only later was this sublimated within collective agronomy and the needs of pastoralism as a shared activity. In a simile to the artistic use of a singular square support, we find the particularity of a singular shape that at the same time has the wider status of a collective universal form. The series of part to whole standardised small square paintings that the painter Marc Schmitz has created in the recent time period proffers a reference to the unique singularity of each small painting, while expressing a continued set of formal processes that establishes their wider familial relations. And it is surely fortuitous the word “nomad’ has a comparative simile to the “monad’, an indivisible single entity that imbues a point of departure through the role of imagined inflection. As a unit of perceptual reality, each of the paintings in this extended series by Schmitz has a specific individual quality of inflected facture. That is a pre-established monad (their square support) formalising harmonious relations. The artist’s use of a diurnal approach (diaristic in certain respects) is where an individual painting as operative monad asserts through its uniform use of shape and variable facture an immediate feeling of temporal presence. In producing a painting daily the artist presents the underpinning conceptual structure—both temporal and spatial—that can be seen as the singular part that is expressed within the continuity of the whole. The artist Schmitz has utilised the introspective conditions of the studio at this time of social distancing, and has focussed on those heightened feelings that were generated through sense and immediate phenomenological notions of expressive facture. It is his use of painterly facture that becomes in turn serialised as intense moments of texture and haptic expression. This said, these small facture-based square paintings should not be seen as if they are a mere syncopated continuum one to another, as if they represent simple variations on a given format. But rather they stress an individual autonomy and for this reason they do not need to be surveyed in an unfolding and/or specific pictorial order, notwithstanding the allusive utility and diaristic approach. For a serialised format does not preclude individual autonomy, since it expresses the variance of similarity within the temporal continuum.The language of facture and the artist Schmitz’s application processes while they accord to similarity do not engage with facsimile and simple repetition. The conceptual point of departure is set aside by the experiential processes operative at the time of a painting’s execution, yet remain as a spectral presence and the hidden undertow that grounds the initial schema. This pertains notwithstanding that the presentation follows a presented order and a date chronology. The dialectical and contested relationship between the artist and each 30 x 30cm oil painted surface has produced a noticeably haptic and rich gestural language of marks. In the actual temporal-physical and generated gestural moments of making the various surface marks and accretions are not actually seen, but are documented as singular material outcomes in each painting. Hence, in this respect, like all paintings, they are the resulting material objects of record that bear visual witness to accumulative sensory and sensate moments of their creation. It is important to distinguish here the difference between the “sensory”, feelings that relate to the senses, and the “sensate”, feelings that are born of perception itself. In the past five months in the studio, including the ongoing virus quarantine period, Schmitz has been able to develop a personal facture and formalise a language of creative mark making. If painting practitioners are familiar enough with long periods of solitude in their atelier, in the recent circumstances it has become extended and vividly magnified. It is the case that solitude and introspection have played an assertive part in the concentrated development of these smaller scale diurnal paintings by the artist. Most often working with wet in wet the superimposition of layered colours is as much due to spatula spread and/or palette knife as it is brush applied, and this gives the small paintings something of a loose visual effect reminiscent of decalcomania. We find a comb-like approach of drag and spread, striated marks, strigilated rhythms, alongside serpentine marks and materialisations of luscious visual loquaciousness. There is an affective inwardness in relation to Schmitz’s approach to each painted support. We find in some cases channelled ribs of paint running vertically and horizontally where the different oil colours bleed through each other leaving opaque traces of colour in states of variable emergence. In many there is an informal grid, less 1213that of a conventional modernist symmetry but rather that of adumbrated traces of presence and erasure. While the paintings may evoke the informal abstraction of someone like Sean Scully, it is not one of a controlled informality, but rather that of lyrical abstraction. That is to say lyrical as the gestural marks convey a sense of the expressive movement of the hand, and evoke feelings of tactility and haptic forms of perception.Whereas painting as perception is necessarily born of those daily forces of time and space, an artist’s engagement with time in the duration of creating a painting is always variable and contextual. The specific context for creating these smaller square paintings was unique. The artist Schmitz was metaphorically in lockup due to the unfolding Corona virus pandemic across the world, and as a result drawn ever more intensely into the processes of the moment and of creative introspection. These paintings therefore may be seen as images of immediate affect, and this is evidenced by the character of the facture as expressed on the painted surface. In some cases the gestures used in their production are active and vigorous and aggressively made, in others playful, calming, and sometimes almost meditative. It is self-evident that paintings are always an accumulation various states of consciousness, but in the instance of these diurnal forms of singular rapid production moods and expressions of the immediate moment are magnified and made manifest. As a result we find in these paintings a veritable surface theatre of material marks and allusions, from labial mandala like ovals, to circular vortexes, cross forms, fretted grills, and thickly applied swirling rhythms that generate rich textured surfaces reminiscent of reliefs. What we experience in this somewhat unforeseen and extended investigation by Marc Schmitz, are acute moments of temporal insight morphed into the immediacy of self-generated spontaneous paintings. The artist has often stated that he is in greater respects a conceptual artist, and that painting is just one aspect of his general life practice as an artist and curator. Yet this series can be said to be, regardless of the argued conceptual unity of the standardised square support, the full-blooded expression of a painter. In fact while they may recall the gestured works of artists like Jason Martin, or the smaller off-square abstracts of Gerhard Richter in the early 1980s, they have a sense of immediacy that is essentially their own. That they have been produced in a life period of anomalous circumstance, far from being to the detriment, has been a liberating manifestation of possibilities. Schmitz drawn quite literally into the experiential ontology of daily life, and free from the distracting events and projections that are the commonplace of modern existence, he has been able to realise an original body of painted works. They are paintings of record, images witnessing a time of consummation, a lexicon or journal of lived existence and daily life.
1 This is not the place to discourse on the neutral role (or otherwise) of the use of the square in painting and modernism from Malevich to Mondrian, Albers to Reinhardt, and on to today. For a discussion of the role of shape in perception, see Rudolf Arnheim, “Shape”, Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye, (1954), Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, Universi-ty of California Press, 2004, pp. 42-95
2 For creative inflection, see Gilles Deleuze, “Pleats in Matter” and “The Folds in the Soul”, The Fold: Leibnitz and the Baroque, London, The Athlone Press, 1993, pp. 3-13, 14-26 (French orig. Le Pli: Leibnitz et le Baroque, Paris, 1993).
3 An English translation of Leibnitz’s Monadology, originally first published in French in 1714, can be consulted online at http://home.datacomm.ch/kerguelen/monadology/monadology.html
4 For a discussion of “serial art” see Markus Bandur, Aesthetics of Total Serialism: Contem-porary Research from Music to Architecture. Basel, Boston and Berlin, Birkäuser, 2001. Also Mark Gisbourne, “A Sense of the Serial”, The Serial Attitude, New York, Eyken Maclean, 2016, pp.31-40
5This semantic distinction follows from a prevailing view as to the forming of modern consci-ousness, that is to say emotion, feeling, and the feeling of feeling, see Antonio Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens: The Body, Emotion, and the Making of Consciousness, Landon and New York, 2000.
6The adapted use of decalcomania has a long history (possibly first used by William Blake), but was revived by Surrealist artists such as Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Oscar Dominguez, Hans Bellmer, and in Mexican Surrealism by Wolfgang Paalen and Remedios Varo, see “glossary” René Passeron, The Concise Encyclopedia of Surrealism, Ware, 1985, p. 259
7Juhani Pallasmas “The Shape of Touch”, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture of the Senses, Chichester, 2005, pp. 56-59 For an analysis of the role played by touch in creative develop-ment, see Ashley Montagu, Touching, The Human Significance of the Skin, New York, Harper & Row, 1986
The Nomads Square (artist statement) by Marc Schmitz
“The palace that we first conquer and then dignified to inhabit is the head of man, our head… (..) every person is a sun king, every person is actually sovereign. All of this is withheld from us by politics: Our sovereignty is represented by other individuals and immediately betrayed in the process .. ”
Joseph Beuys *
Basically I would consider myself as a conceptual artist, and by this I follow researching ideas towards understanding the contemporary issues of the „world“ by transforming visual statements. Actually, the concept is only for leaving it (the concept) behind, the same moment the creative process has begun. A painting session reflects the entire space that is currently available, that Nomads Square is a pars pro toto for. The exercise is joy and seeks to be expanded in all possible areas.
In this series of work, the Nomads Square serves as a flight path and is an aeronautical checkpoint by facing the infinite variety of events and things that affect us each moment, to summarize and to abandon once again. I would call the point of origin to that series a diverse Multidisciplinary, that reaches back to the origin of expression.
Entering a new environment offers the opportunity to experience every single notion for the first time, and in so doing, constructs a personal weave by sorting the mental traces. While diving through massive sensual inputs of the daily environment, we use filters in organizing our orientation. Which filters do we trust, which operate well for us, which do care for our well being? Do I have any external theory, system, metaphysical science, “order” left, to take as granted (?) towards my next step. And would there be any chance to just step in the “right” direction?
If we look at the following years after 2020 as a turning point, and many people are doing so in terms of the challenges posed by climate change (I am afraid how technically and externally this debate is conducted, as though we were not integrated as part of nature, as if we, humans, do not need protection and a sustainable view of ourselves), then it is the task of contemporary art, if it deserves the attribute, to grasp the aesthetic dimension (in the sense of perception) of this change.
Sometimes I am asked what I think about either this or that art, and what meaning I would have in mind. And of course it is possible to think a lot about this or that. However, it is a privilege for me not to think when I create art. Thinking does not lead to new experience, but to the decision to make new experience possible.
My practice is characterized by a constant negotiation between concrete references and general allusions, between poetic ephemerality and an uncanny sense of visceral immediacy. This work investigates the unexpected, often little known, effects of cross-cultural dynamics, making visible patterns of artistic migrations and cultural disguise.
Everything is always carried through time. We say we are children of time, but when can we actually feel it? It is of course a certain risk to keep balance in constant dissolution processes (of painting) and to design something that only lasts in brevity. And hold on until it becomes true, with my feeling, and put the tedious evaluation on hold. Then, I just intuit the work is finished, leaving it to remain.
The studio offers an ideal environment to host this inner refugee and to materialize it’s spirit. A Butoh pirouette of inner mechanics rather than an optimization. Optimization is enacted hierarchically, yet perception encompasses much more than that. And what is already there can be presented in different ways, in constant dynamics. Marc Schmitz
Artist featured by Saatchi Art in a collection