Sabine Tress’ paintings

Text written by Dr. Martin Stather for the exhibition at Rittershaus, Mannheim, Germany 2010

Sabine Tress’ paintings could be described as explosions of colour. So colourful that they are almost deafening. Painted surfaces, coloured splatters, eruptions of colour and layers of spray paint reminiscent of graffiti all are superimposed and interlocked.  Her paintings are charged with a sense of spontaneity and friction. The viewer is compelled to wander about in a suggestive and imaginative painted world. The artist rarely paints day to day objects. An exception might be her works from the living room series. But even in those works she did not paint actual living rooms but shapes, objects and moods reminiscent of interiors and furniture. Her recent paintings are spontaneously executed and evolve throughout the painting process. No stories are being told in these paintings. It’s rather the creation of the paintings themselves that Sabine Tress wants to communicate. Underneath the many layers of paint we get a glimpse of the personality of the work. Her oeuvre could be described as experimental but at the same time self-evident. The titles of the paintings are spontaneous and don’t play an important role. Like a blind person the viewer must experience Sabine Tress’ paintings afresh without prefigured ideas.

Sabine Tress is not particularly bothered by art history even though she isn’t ignoring the facts. Her work is fuelled by moods and emotions and above all a constant struggle with the essence of painting. The finished painting could be compared to a homunculus, a little creature that has a life on its own. Growing up and being cherished and formed with the help of spray paint, acrylic paint and brushes, it might turn out to be friendly or rather nasty. Sabine Tress works simultaneously on several paintings to avoid waiting for them to dry. She paints numerous layers and some previous ones are still visible once the painting is finished, therefore making her working method apparent. The use of spray paint adds a fresh dimension to the paintings.  There are festoons and fiery explosions and shapes that look like brush strokes but are sprayed onto the surface. Spray paint, used by street art from graffiti to Pochoir is used as an intelligent and contemporary way of artistic expression. It doesn’t create tension within the paintings, it actually seems to energise them.  The results are paintings that go beyond traditional standards and their limitations. It’s like the viewer is listening to the orchestra tuning their instruments and the musical is about to start: Overwhelmed by colours and sounds he or she is constantly confronted with something new. There is so much to see! Sabine Tress’s paintings are the opposite of boring, her works can be looked at over and over again. What a treat!