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Silvie Aigner

Elisabeth Wedenig / On the exhibition "True Colors"

Elisabeth Wedenig (1980 in St. Veit/Glan, Austria) studied at the Academy of Arts in Riga and Athens and, from 2004 to 2008, at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna in the Master Class Hubert Schmalix and Amelie von Wulffen. She belongs to those young artists who, amongst the pluralism of media, are placing renewed focus on painting and panel painting. The choice of materials is as varied as the themes and subjects. Her interest lies in the immanence of painting itself. The theme of abstraction versus figuration, in her work, is not "either-or" but "both" - not throughout various work series, but always within the same painting. The intensity of her motifs develops from the unexpected colours, but especially from an assured and clear lineament. Elisabeth Wedenig has been drawing since childhood, and drawing remains a major part of her work today. For her motifs, she draws on memories, dreams, the perception of her environment and the impressions gained from her many voyages, from Scotland to exotic places like Cuba, Mexico or Tobago. Sometimes history of art is itself the motif. Sometimes, this is based on specific events like the frescoes of Anton Kolig in the Kärtner Landhaus, destroyed in 1938 under the influence of National Socialism, from which she drew motifs and painted a large series of painting on the occasion of an exhibition at the Museum des Nötscher Kreises, or the moving, colour-intensive baroque painting as such. But her images always lead into a fantastic dream world full of poetry and surprises.

Yet, as Elisabeth Wedenig explains, many motifs first arise during the painting process. Memories emerge, which she integrates into the composition. The selection of colours is also more intuitive than strategic. She frequently paints directly onto the canvas, so that the paint is soaked up by the cloth; only then does she cover it with a foundation, preparing the basis for more layers of paint. Transparent and opaque surfaces are juxtaposed, surrounding the motifs but also generating a compositional space on the canvas. In this way, her paintings develop "like collages, as she describes it. The characters in her paintings are frequently integrated in a confusion of flowers and plants, or in a completely abstract matrix of colours, and only gradually appear to the observer. While her earlier paintings had more precision, with animals, plants and people more clearly defined, now everything seems to be mixed together in dynamic motion. The figurative motifs are also less realistic and plastic, rendered more abstractly through broad brush strokes. Elisabeth Wedenig artfully connects the individual subjects and colour fields and thus allows a new reality to emerge in the picture. The distorted surfaces also serve to simultaneously include several layers of the narrative into the composition. Her paintings always have something secretive that pulls us into the depths of hidden feelings and memories. They are figurative, descriptive, even lyrical representations whose titles trigger our fantasy. Paintings like "Von der Liebe der Füchse" or "Im Aufwind sind im Federn gewachsen" act like soothing counter-concepts to everyday reality, leading us into another, surreal, dreamy world.

Text for the exhibition "True Colors", House of Arts, Hangar-7 Red Bull

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