by Heather Zises
German contemporary artist Simone Schwarz creates spiritual paintings that are abstract expressions of life. Gestural and atmospheric, her compositions explore the gamut of human emotions through color. Brimming with self-love, positivity, and vitality, each work reflects the depths of her soul.
Since childhood, Schwarz has steadily cultivated an affinity for art. At the tender age of 12, her drawings and paintings garnered recognition in art class; so much so that her self-portrait was named best in show amongst the entire student body. As a self-taught artist, she honed her creative skills over the years through intensive painting and experimenting with different colors and techniques.
Schwarz uses materials and techniques that pulsate with energy. Curious and experimental, the artist often paints her canvases with her fingers, bottle caps or a palette knife. In other instances, she will mix acrylic paint with ink and observe what reactions take place on the surface when rubbing alcohol is applied. For added texture, she will use spray paint and modeling paste.
All of Schwarz’s paintings are untitled. This action is deliberate because she does not want to place limitations upon the viewer. Knowing that there are multiple ways to interpret abstract art, Schwarz invites the viewer to find an entry point into her paintings so that they can form their own impressions. Without having to focus upon a title, the viewer is free to make new discoveries both within the painting and within themselves.
The conceptual underpinnings of Schwarz’s works are twin helixes of color and emotion. The surfaces hum with a vibrancy that invite the viewer to come closer as they stir up a flurry of feelings from within. The artist believes that each of her paintings has its own personality that is showcased by different groupings of color, “I find that colors dictate my mood. When I’m full of energy, I work with primary colors. When I’m feeling romantic, I tend to use pastels.” As such, Schwarz works with two sets of palettes. One is warm and bright, presenting a parade of gemstone hues like aquamarine, amethyst, citrine and emerald. The other is calm and serene, favoring softer tones like bubblegum pink, seafoam green, and frosted lavender.
Driven by passion, Schwarz begins each composition without preparation and lets the paint guide her to a destination. Ideas will arise about how to expand the composition which ultimately transforms the picture plane into vibrant pockets of activity. A selection of Schwarz’s paintings are populated with regions of color fields. Pockets of organically shaped forms vary continuously with position, producing smooth color transitions. Within each color field the level of saturation varies, creating the sensational effect of a sunrise or sunset. In other works, colors occupy harder edges and clamor for space on the picture plane, creating the illusion of a bustling surface.
This month, Schwarz is featured in Agora’s group show, The Saturated Palette, (May 3-24, 2022), which navigates the cultural, psychological, and symbolic undertones of color. The press release states:
Color is much more than a mere aesthetic endeavor. It is tied to our cultural and religious roots, our sensitivities, and our feelings. Color can be universal in its meaning and symbolism–red for passion, yellow for energy, green for nature–or deeply intimate when tied to a significant event or person in our lives. At the same time, the absence of color strips the subject of frivolity, adding a stratum of gravitas. Whether intuitively driven or deliberate, the palettes chosen by these artists stand at the intersection of ethos and pathos. The vibrational force of pigments however generates limitless responses that stray from the original meaning imparted by the artist. Color then becomes a door to our own imagination, an exploration of the self, on our terms.
Schwarz maintains that her work fits well with the psychological undertones of the show, “The term ‘psyche’ comes from the Greek word which means breath. The act of breathing means something is alive. I believe that my paintings are alive when it comes to their formal aspects like color and shape. My compositions take the viewer on a beautiful journey within; they allow you to breathe in something beautiful by opening hearts and souls.”
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Undoubtedly, Schwarz mines her psychic space to generate soulful paintings that deliver healing auras and thought-forms in astral colors.
Simone’s work is on view at the gallery until May 24. To learn more about the artist, visit her dedicated page.