World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 255 - Melanie Mertens
Melanie Mertens’ paintings were shown in the exhibition ‘Silence’ in the House of Foolishness (Huis der Zotheid, house of Foolishness, a reference to Erasmus’ praise of foolishness’), an art house / literary cafe. Her paintings were inspired by reflections about the meaning of silence in our very busy and often hectic lives.
At the last day of the exhibition I speak to her in the cafe. There are still a few works left on the walls, she shows me the ones that are packed on her phone.
Industrial society & nature
The paintings are intense impressions of the not easy to find or temporary disappearing nature, not touched by culture. The development of the industrial society and the experience to explore in these circumstances the inner spaces of silence, influenced the works.
The paintings are very close to the world of inner pictures. This is a very alive and important dimension of feeling and thinking for her. In the last years she is occupied with the topic identity, nature and technology and the role of mankind changing and shaping the natural environment and our own consciousness.
Why is this theme important for her? Melanie Mertens: “For me it is important to find oneness with nature in our time within the world of growing technology. Are men still a part of nature, or a part of technology? We have a certain responsibility. I have been inspired by reflections about the meaning of an inner and outer balance in our very busy and often hectic lives. Painting is very close to the world of inner pictures, that was always for me a very alive and important dimension of feeling and thinking. Sometimes a dream that I had was the starting point of a creative process. Thus I want to express the inner image and work it out.”
She asks herself if it is still possible to build a bridge between nature and technology and to reconcile the contradictions. “For example getting plants and nature back in the city, to feel life again might be a good idea. I practice it in the surrounding of my atelier, it is inspiring.”
Does she have a key work, an important work that gave a certain twist to her oeuvre? She has. It is the painting ‘blue flower IV’ (acrylic on canvas, 2016, 100x150 cm). We see a canal in a metropolitan area with a number of empty boats, someone is fishing on the front boat. The tall glass tower buildings rise in the background and at the very front, on a nest in the water (a typical coot nest), a blue flower grows.
Melanie: “It is one of the ‘blue flower’ series of painting. In these works you see somewhere a blue flower, a symbol well known from the epoch of Romantic. The blue flower is a symbol of longing, love and trying to reach the impossible. The subject of the paintings raises the question how to find oneness with nature in our time within the world of growing technology. This painting shows fancyfull aspects of keeping in touch with nature in urban surroundings. You see the pulse of nature still beating. Will this lead to cities with hanging gardens, living walls and blooming roofs?”
We walk to a painting that is not yet packed, ‘Contemplation I’. We see a number of men on steps in a station after closing time, some in hoodies. They are all staring at their smartphones. Except one person, he is lying on a bench in the aisle. He seems to be sleeping. Melanie: ”It is a painting about inner and outer absence. All persons follow their own way to get in touch with themselves. The realistic style of painting invites to identify, but graphic and colour are leading deeper into the subject and give some freedom to associate and reflect.”
Around the corner there are two more paintings can be seen with jungle. Is it the Amazon or Europe? Indeed that is the case, one is from the Amazon area and one from a forest in Germany where Melanie lives and works. “It is about exploring nature and getting in touch wit hits plenty. If you have a first look, the realistic view impresses, but when you come closer to the painting you see that it is a play with colour and form. This technique of painting is influenced by David Hockney. Hockney with his great work, inspires my artistic view a lot. I also play with the conciousness, drawing the viewer deep into the painting, perhaps even until he or she is close to own creative imaginations.”
Melanie Mertens studied art at the at Arnhem Free School of Arts (two years) and the University of Cologne in Germany. “I live and work in Bonn, Germany. I´m busy with art my whole live, I was always sketching and painting since I was a girl.”
She is a member of Künstlerforum Remagen e.V. , http://www.kuefo-remagen.de/ and Bundesverband Bildender Künstler Bonn-Rhein-Sieg e.V. (a professional artist association) http://bbk-bonn-rhein-sieg.de Since 1991 she is active with exhibitions in Germany and Europe. She is also involved with artist-talks, cross-over-art- projects, curator-work, she gives workshops and takes part in art-residence-programs.
Finally, as far as not already discussed, what is her philosophy? “if you as an artist want to get a grip on a change process, it is important to focus on a certain period of running time. If you want to capture the essence of change on a two-dimensional medium, you have to get very close to its dynamics. It is important to be aware, that those dynamics are changing. You consider them, measure them and then make a selection. In this way I connect motion with the worlds of inner pictures, with which I want to communicate.”
She wants people to get involved with this. “I give the viewer some well-known references of the outer visual world, but in the composition it is connected with fractions of reality, colour-spheres and objects, not fixed to a special meaning. In this way a sphere of not fixed content is created. Thus painting is a very special way to communicate on a deeper level of imagination. I like to work in series to get deeper with a special subject and work it out.
1) Contemplation II 2018 acrylic on canvas 60 x80 cm, 2) absent II acrylic on canvas 100 x 120 cm 2018, 3) Harbour Kats two pieces acrylic on canvas 120 x 200 cm 2019, 4) hold acrylic on canvas 2017 120 x 160 cm, 5) hold acrylic on canvas 120 x 160 cm 2017, 6) harvest acrylic on canvas 2017150 x 100 cm, 7) north-south acrylic on canvas 2016 120 x 100 cm, 8) under water acrylic on canvas 120 x 160 cm 2017, 9) silence acrylic on canvas 2017 70 x 100 cm, 10) blue flower III acrylic on canvas160 x 120 cm , 11) blue flower IV acrylic on canvas 2016 100 x 150 cm, 12) contemplation I acrylic on canvas 80 x 60 cm 2018, 13) yellow snake two pieces acrylic on canvas 120 x 200 cm, 14) seagull, acrylic on canvas 119 x 148 cm