by Nicole Matthiß
Paintings – Series (La Divina Commedia)
When one stands facing the paintings in Marc Schmitz Series one is literally in the dark at first.
The eye gropes its way over the canvas in search of clues or signs. It is not just the light that the darkness absorbs but the beholder as well. Once the retina has had a chance to adjust, however, one sees that the color is richly varied. Paint has been applied in layers to form
multiple glazes that give rise to a wealth of mutually overlaying shapes. Seeming rather monochrome at first sight, the paintings reveal their depth and polychrome nature as doors to different spaces, containing glossy and pale areas. Inspired by Dante’s La Divina Commedia sketches of hells and heavens had been the original point of departure for the series.
Space here is less a perspective opening as a window than a relation of the canvas to the viewer’s body. The power of the paintings of the series La Divina Commedia relies to the process of their creation. Marc Schmitz describes the process of creation as an act similar to
alchemy. The artist is playing with the energy of time and mixing the colors as a transformer in the artistic process. In this works Marc Schmitz reflects upon the power of time and space in the process of creation. There is no narration, mimesis or recollection. Associative and interpretative possibilities abound. The paintings confront one with the limits of what can be verbalized; force
one to capitulate, as it were, before the language-transcending phenomenon of the picture. And Marc Schmitz paintings are not in the least self-referential. The issue of presence and representation in painting becomes the issue of the world and reality itself and of their
readability. One seeks the image, and it stares back. It leaves one alone with one’s longing for (in)sight, clarity, explication, causality, and the knowledge of the impossibility of not interpreting.
Without end or intention, Marc Schmitz appears as one of the few seminal witnesses of a time which is ridden with the nonsense of “globalization”, “internationalization” & their conduit, “cultural hegemony”. In close consideration of the artwork of Marc Schmitz, we may find it apt to quote the Chinese maxim, …to cross the river while feeling for the stones “, as his sincerity lies in the touch of material while attempting to navigate the impossible straits of our time.
All paintings of this series have the format 130 cm x 170 cm painted in oil on canvas. Some paintings have subtitles but in general they are just numbered. However for the artist there is not any chronological development in the production work that he is following on now for more than a decade.