The work of the painter and sculptor Mara Ruehl appears at first glance like an individual continuation of the concrete and constructivism art tradition. On closer scrutiny, however, it can be seen that in the utilization of by all means comparable methods the artist is pursuing quite different intentions. Ruehl’s use of abstract-geometrical picture components serves the construction of firm structures only to a very limited degree. Her central theme is much more the basic variability of all structures that mankind can ever develop. She considers the demand of the orthodox representatives of concrete art that pictures should be free of all references to nature, which of course also includes the indirect illustration of human emotions, highly questionable at the very least.

The artist pursues different paths here; she wrestles for pictures of pulsating, flowing vitality. With her, the clearly defined elements of abstract geometry appear to be set in motion from the inside out; contours become hazy, edges become rounded. The surface of the picture is inspirited with painterly and sculptural means, lines vibrate, areas of colour gain corporeality and an enamel-like shimmering sheen. A soft surface modulation is achieved through the patient placing of diverse wafer-thin layers of paint on top of each other. The enlivenment of the rigid, static picture plate striven for by Mara Ruehl has led to the development of paintings with the addition of sculptural elements and the construction of coloured reliefs. The arrangement of identical bodies following a comprehensible system forms geometrical patterns; the use of wood platelets or plastic cubes more or less similar in design and stuck on in rows causes an additional rhythmicity of the painted area. The picture which has been extended to a colour-space-relief also enables an attractive utilization of the natural alternation of light and shadow.

Bernd Zachow

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 Photography: Max Etzold