Gudrun Mertes-Frady

As a timeless organizing principle, geometry is the underlying matrix or architecture of all my work. I am drawn to its symmetry and quasi-symmetry and the limitless potential to create my own world.

My work is about clarity and structure, pared down to essential forms. I’m very interested to explore physical fact and psychic affect of color and form with this process. I work toward the instant the painting has its own center, its own logic.

 

Most of all I want my work to be about deceleration, in the spirit of the works by Olafur Eliasson and the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, as a counter point to the ever accelerating whirl of our time, in which our lives seem trapped.  There is one more thing of importance to me: I’m going blatantly for a sense of beauty.

 

My focus has always been abstract art. I’m attracted to its reduction of the “real” to its essence, to its total freedom of formulation. My interest is in the mathematics of the surface. Abstraction takes more than seeing—it takes contemplation. My aim is to elicit magic, a feeling of something that can’t be grasped with the head only. That is what interests me when I look at art—I want that experience.

 

In my paintings, I use metallic pigments, like aluminum and graphite. I also use mica particles mixed with my colors to affect a kinetic quality of illusory motion depending from which angle the work is seen.

I try to find out what the painting wants from me. I sometimes have the distinct feeling that I feed the canvas with color and form, and it either accepts my choice or it rejects it. So I flounder between trial and error until I make the right decision. I am always waiting for that instant in which the painting snaps into focus. I depend most of all on this gut feeling. Sometimes, the painting may respond favorably to one of my arbitrary choices, but I can’t agree just yet and I try to resist its choice. A battle begins. I always loose in the end. Only when I let go of my preconceptions and just follow, can I truly arrive at something new and surprising. I know this must sound very strange, but this is the relationship I have with my work. It needs me to bring it to life and I need it to keep me living, physically and spiritually.

 

I move between drawing and painting, but never concurrently, always separately and many months apart. I never use my drawings as stepping stone to my work on canvas. To me they are completely different states of mind. My drawing come into existence in an intense and fast action experience, almost obsessively adding layers of ink, charcoal, conte crayon, metallic sticks until the drawing has its own center or irrevocably a raison d'être  Most of all, I want to seduce the viewer into an experience of mystery and beauty.