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Manfred Neumann

Paintings & Drawings from the Mark Brandenburg

The work of Manfred Neumann presents itself in the form of a continuum. This continuum knows breaks and cracks and the coexistence of contrary perceptions. On the one hand it refers back to the tradition of the Renaissance, on the other it is a free play with different tools and techniques. Both principles complement each other. E.g. the aesthetic experience which comes from the for-its-own-sake use of paints, shapes and materials enters into the creation of a real world of objects.
Here and there one can feel the wish for harmony and beauty. Quite obvious is his love for fine lines and his passion for fabrics and materials. With respect to these qualities, reality inperceptably fades into the ideal, eventhough it is recorded with the meticulessness of a pencil's line. The difference between image and reality is but a nuance and it is precisely this which makes Neumann's aesthetic concept so unique.
Portraits, landscapes, nudes and still lifes – his major themes and topics – feature this concept.
For more than 10 Years Neumann has painted friends, aquaintances and celebrities of his home town and with more than 50 such works he has virtually become the city's chronicler. The composition and technique follow those of Renaissance artists like Holbein and Cranach. Like in the works of the latter, Neumann's subjects show an over-individual trait which makes them typical representatives of their time.
During the early 80ies he started – inpired by one commission – painting people and landscapes from the Oderbruch region. He captured the faces of farmers in psychologically and socially precise images and showed their homely environment as well as the surrounding countryside. Due to close contact with the fates of the individuals, the emotional content of his images became richer. Glaze technique changed to Alla-Prima and intense colours gave way to more restraint hues.
This change was accompanied by the creation of informal compositions. Neumann's dualism may have been a problem of identity in the early days, today, however, it presents itself as determined principle of artistic creation always open for "the new".

Monika Tschirner
art expert