another kind of light

shades of white series

shades of white b01, 2022, 270x163 cm, gouache, varnish, pencil on unprimed canvas

Multicolored Shades.

Multicolored White.

On the new group of works by Toni Wombacher

by Edwin Schäfer 2022


In the exhibition Quick and Dirty Toni Wombacher showed a new group of works Shades of White.

Shades of White consists of a number of smaller paintings, as well as one large format, executed on raw unprimed fabric, each dedicated to a particular painting material. In each case there are works painted with oil paints, acrylic, varnish, gouache, ink, dispersion and watercolor. Common to all works, in addition to the execution on unprimed and unstretched fabric, is the subdivision, or composition of the works. Each painting is divided into six horizontal zones. The top zone is unpainted and shows the fabric in its original state. This is followed by four areas showing different gradations or mixtures of the color white. In the lowest part, in contrast, is a strip of colored black. If you now look at the individual works next to each other, you will notice, in addition to the different color orchestration, above all the different behavior of the fabric. Depending on whether it is a rather watery or pasty color, the fabric develops a special life of its own. It bulges, undulates, folds, and curls in different ways. This can be observed especially in the uppermost empty zone and at the edges. It is precisely the area of the painting that is left untreated that becomes perhaps the most important area of the painting. In this context, one could use the term painterly action. Toni Wombacher is not concerned here with a painterly refinement that expresses itself in a certain elaborate handwriting, but rather with a distanced, objectified, painterly execution or action, with a purely objective application of paint, which precisely through its restraint allows the qualities of painting itself, and the material effect of the painting as such, to emerge all the more clearly and consciously. Painting is not celebrated here, but is reduced to its absolute necessity in clear language. This effect unfolds in a monumental and at the same time extremely sensitive manner in the large-format work Shades of White, which is shown in the exhibition in combination with the work White Lakes in an installation-like spatial relationship. In this large-format work, the lower dark zone becomes part of the floor and thus refers not least to the position of the viewer. Here it is important to note that all of Wombacher's works can be understood as designs for future space-related installations.

shades of white s01 and s02, 2022, 57x38 cm, gouache, varnish, pencil on unprimed canvas