Sunday, February 7, 2010

ESSAY: Anna Redwine – Frauenau Paintings

ANNE REDWINE: Frauenau Paintings By Wim Roefs

Anna Redwine created 26 works on paper in one week in the summer of 2004. She had been confined to a room on an old farm in Frauenau, a German town near the Czech border, midway between Munich and Prague. It rained for days. She didn’t speak German. She ran out of sketchbook pages to write in and book chapters to re-read. There was nowhere to go but the sheets of primed paper, 24 x 17 inches in size.

To reach those sheets in the Bavarian forest, Redwine had traveled from Columbia, S.C., where she lives, by planes, trains, cars and eventually on foot. She was in pursuit that summer of German Expressionists of the early 20th century, visiting museums in Munich and Vienna. But for one week at the international art workshop Bild-Werk in Frauenau, instructed by Czech painter Pavel Rouchka, Redwine was to paint.

She was surrounded by the unfamiliar, including the German diet and art supplies. Freed from language, she was left with visual clues and communication. The long, solitary trip had exhilarated her. “I was drawing on memories of other intensely experienced places and situations,” Redwine says. “Memories that were not clear like snapshots but potent aggregates of temperature, smell and light.” A look out of the window, or the sun acting just so, could trigger a memory that Redwine explored with watercolor crayons on her sheets.

My work is informed by the experience of life, both mine and that of plants, animals and other people. I define my creative action as drawing, whether I'm using a paintbrush, carbon stick or other tool. In my work the word 'draw' means not only to place marks on a surface but to extract, like to draw blood or a conclusion.”

She discussed with Rouchka different versions of white and their relation to the white of the paper, which made her aware of the importance of what’s left out of a drawing. And so Redwine created inspired, lively, direct works on paper – some non-representational, others less so. The confidence in economy gained in Frauenau led to her 2006 MFA thesis exhibition, Life In One Breath, for which she created small carbon renderings of insects, birds and other animals on large, white panels.

“Frauenau was a turning point in my mark making,” Redwine says. “I really started to understand the strength and nimbleness of white and began to have confidence in manipulating the dialogue between space and form within an image.”

Wim Roefs, February 2010

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