Marcus Amm

A combination of planning and improvisation, control and lack of control, this painting is typical of Amm’s work. With its intimations of the sublime and reference to the works of Ad Reinhardt and Mark Rothko this painting extends the Romantic and modernist traditions in a perceptive way. These are subtle, slow, delicate paintings that evolve over a period of time, the product of long periods of contemplation. Subtle gradations of tone, small eclipses and traces of underlayers give the work a secretive atmosphere that seems at once to refer to nature and to nothing at all, challenging what we are capable of seeing. “It’s like a game of ping pong,” he says of his creative working process. “For instance a speck of dust could fly into the paint and I may have to wipe it out. It’s a constant reaction to what’s going on. I’m playing my part, and then seeing how the material is reacting. As I can’t completely control the process, the result is always open; it’s like alchemy.”

Markus Amm creates his boards by first applying layers of gesso, and sands down the uppermost layer to obtain a smooth surface onto which he then pours paint. Decisions are made about drying times, colors, how much to thin the paint, resulting in a rich but luminous surface of subtly gradated tones, where incidents are recorded and remain unaltered. His working process is long, and one that obliges him to remain attentive to the material. It is only in the drying phase that the « picture » begins to emerge, thus there is risk inherent in the process and presumably many false starts.