From 13 November 2018 to 17 February 2019 at Kunstraum Gerdi Gutperle
Gerdi Gutperle’s artistic work is as important and inspiring to her as bread and water are for people to survive. With seemingly inexhaustible energy she tends to work late into the night and, within just one year, creates an oeuvre, which might take others an entire lifetime to create. It was only a year ago that she presented a grand exhibition on the occasion of her 25th anniversary as an artist. In 2018, she is introducing her latest exhibition “Multifaceted”, which, despite featuring works in very diverse artistic techniques, still follows a common thread, with a style uniting the individual pieces, and in a common colour tone.
The paintings are predominantly abstract. In a few cases, contours merely hinted at are reminiscent of humans at one with their surroundings of lush, abstract vegetation or water, and merging with the elements. Swinging lines add up to create moving formations, dance across the canvas with graceful ease, thus leaving the impression of an infinite stream. The artist uses strong colours, which are brought to life by their contrast and luminosity. The colour palette ranges from purple and red to yellow and white. Despite the dynamics, the paintings neither convey restlessness nor haste, since the individual forms are not compact with closed surfaces. She paints in oil on canvas, brushing the paint on the canvas stroke after stroke, sometimes stronger, sometimes softer, and occasionally laying it on an area of the surface in thick layers. Three-dimensionality is achieved by intertwining bands of colour, painted in multiple layers. Smooth monochrome areas are rare. Light and dark colours are layered, shimmering transparently, thus suggesting depth. The artist’s brush stroke is sweeping and light, sometimes fine, frayed at the edges, sometimes strong and broad. She shows us a multitude of facets. As an observer one never tires of looking at her works, as one cannot help but feel that there is always something new to discover, both in the details of a painting as well as in its entirety.
The works reflect Gerdi Gutperle‘s deep connection to spirituality, the cosmos and nature. Titles such as Tree Tales, Fairy, Colour and Light, Gravitational Waves, Wheel of Life and Spherical Sounds point in a direction that is not present in our reality-oriented life. The titles convey vastness, openness, even freedom. They stimulate the mind and thus the imagination of the observers, who tend to develop their own stories while looking at the paintings. They inspire us to look at them repeatedly while always remaining new and exciting. This is due to the diverse manners of painting, structures, colours and contents.
Looking back, Gerdi Gutperle describes taking up art in 1997 as a turning point in her life. Long-dormant potential was unlocked, and her life changed fundamentally. “I believe that life is not lived to the fullest unless I can continuously change. To me, living one’s life means constantly being able to develop and grow, so as to fully realise one’s potential. This makes me happy, motivates me, and the certainty that there is gradual, infinite progress gives me strength and joy. This keeps inspiring me to try new and exciting projects”1. With these words Gerdi Gutperle describes what motivates and drives her, both as a human being and an artist. It is her own change and development that is expressed in her work and its versatility.
As an artist, it was important to her to develop a solid base as far as craftmanship and technical skills are concerned. She attended the Hochschule für Gestaltung (college for design) in Wiesbaden and participated in many training courses both at home and abroad. Work stays lasting several weeks, predominantly in Italy and Spain, as well as travelling the world shaped her artistic signature, the way she perceives and feels things.
The mastery of the material, the knowledge of how clay, glaze and fire interact with one another, is of utter importance when creating art objects made of clay. Without possessing this knowledge, one cannot create truly great pieces.
This year, Gerdi Gutperle proves once again that she is a master of the subject. Since her exhibition “Garden of Eden“ in 2017, she has been working on the subject of the sphere as a symbol for the world and, to think further, for the apple. Circular bodies are covered with different shapes, which underlines the volume of the pieces and lets them radiate even more presence than simple spheres could. A few red blossoms twine around a white body with soft crackle glaze. Many small forms that seem like funnel shaped flowers cover a greenish-brown body, which reminds us of the continents of the earth. Based on this original form, Gerdi Gutperle created a large bowl made of individual, narrow strips of clay placed next to each other, thus forming a voluminous, spherical body. The upper edge of the vase is not evenly rounded, but ends irregularly with the end of each strip of clay. To draw attention to the form, the artist glazed the outside of the bowl in a matt turquoise whereas the inside is glazed unevenly in a beige to brown tone.
Gerdi Gutperle is an artist whose fascinating versatility always leaves us hoping for more.
Dr. Bettina Broxtermann
1 Gerdi Gutperle in Ursprünge des Lebens (Origins of Life). Malerei von Gerdi Gutperle (Paintings by Gerdi Gutperle), no place of publication given. 2008