a g a t h a s c h w a g e r
ombres de ma main/ shadows of my hand
My brush paintings owe to Asian calligraphy the search for certain aesthetic elements, but unlike calligraphy they have superseded the pictographic roots of that tradition. On the other hand, by using specific East Asian materials and techniques, such as special inks and papers and techniques unknown in the European tradition, they have gone beyond the limitations of standard Western materials and practices.
My art is not a distillation of nature, an abstraction in the sense of a search for universals, a going beyond the concrete details. It is a two-dimensional expression of fundamental visual exigencies such as the strength and the complexity of composition (Kandinsky’s elements of point, line, and plane) but I add the force and energy of gesture, control of the hand, the brush, the medium and the paper.
This work may evoke memories and associations of actual content, but it is two-dimensional and as non-referential as non-programmatic music. It can be more easily understood as a visual equivalent to music with composition, rhythm, tone, timbre, harmony, phrasing, volume and such elements, rather than as art as illusion. It stands on its own as much as a string quartet. The works remain untitled to avoid a search for references and content, much as Anthony Braxton’s diagrammatic titles.
The restriction of my palette to shades of black, grey, and white imposes a nearly monastic rigour on my work that forces me to concentrate on basic visual elements, making it impossible to escape into the easy and charming subterfuge of colour.