aus Medeele Schade, Malerei, Berlin 2004
Coat Of The Earth
Landscapes by Mideele Schade
Painting succeeds when it is more the work of vision than mere handicraft. This is the case in the landscape paintings of Mideele Schade. To her, seeing means selecting, and to select means to dis-regard – details, the arbitrary and incidental. Therefore, dis-regard is intent. This is what remains after dis-regarding: Intention and freedom, will and purpose.
Landscape is a coat covering the earth all around. This coat is our habitat. The floral, climatic and topographic structures of landscapes makes them rather complex: Rich in detail, interwoven and grown together, constantly in motion. Intent means coping: Coping with this complexity, controlling perception through freedom and instilling order onto the perceived. The artist goes into landscape with her easel and her intent. There she dis-regards: First the city and its restlessness, linear structure and uniformity, but also its countless opportunities for distraction; then the landscape through perceiving, selecting and representing it. She dis-regards the tangible in tree or shrub – there is only brushstroke and colour.
Her ‘intentional’ painting means search, concentration and order, beauty, insight and reduction to the essential. Such reduction demands an ideational overall view, precision and a balance between seeing and doing, thus a high degree of discipline. She leaves out details that are in the way of an overall view, reduces and re-orders complex structures and arranges them into a whole. Through the act of dis-regarding, landscape acquires intentionality. In formal respects, Mideele Schade’s intention is to show beauty, perfection and wholeness; concerning content, it is to convey forces of nature.
Her painterly means are reduced, too: a uniform flow of brushstrokes and a consciously restricted palette. With short, abrupt brushstrokes, she builds up her landscapes and, moving from dark to light, creates chromatic rhythm and form.
Her characteristic palette and flow of brushstrokes are central aspects of her painting. Her colours are an interplay between chromatic lights and shadows. Her expressivity evolves from this interplay and the stark juxtaposition of colour fields. These are not held together by continuous contours, but are simply separated by contour-like gaps left between paint applications, through which the dark hues of the primed canvas remain visible. These gaps are apertures exposing the ground – the motive, the essence and the abyss. Dark and enigmatic, mysterious and beautiful, they represent what enables humans to leave the everyday behind and pause. Her colours are lyrical, the landscapes appear robust, wild and archaic. Nonetheless, they radiate calmly flowing, aesthetic streams of colour – and generate a sense of abundance and security which only wholeness, spirituality and beauty can evoke: sensations that are granted to us only occasionally, even when we are right inside the actual landscape.
Form is created by the rhythm, dynamic and harmony of the elements ‘brushstroke’ and ‘colour field’. Rhythmically, everything evolves from the flow of her brushstrokes, often juxta – or superimposed in parallel lines. Her landscapes are two-dimensional, yet of width and depth. Three-dimensional illusion has been excised from the paintings in order to charge them with the particular forces the painter is after. The parallel application of short brushstrokes gives the paintings an unusual coherence, causing a landscape to appear transfixed, despite its dynamic and expressive qualities. This is not because painting is necessarily a factor of fixation, but because Mideele Schade represents the inner dynamic of landscape as its very essence, the dynamic of its very being, for both the existence of the world and of humanity essentially mean movement and change. The impression of calm and beauty in her paintings result from simplicity, structured movement and from rhythms of uniform orientation, frequency and amplitude.
Mideele Schade invents her landscapes. She represents elementary nature - mountain, sky, cloud, vegetation, water and wind –, yet, at the same time, she shows the agency of cultural forces: Pathways and roads, gardens, cultivated fields. Human beings do not feature in her paintings. They are only implicitly present – as creators of landscape.
Her painting appears like a view from a distant standpoint. Through this view from the distance, through precision, immediacy and inventiveness, she succeeds in taking landscape back to its very origin and in representing landscape as the unifying elementary power. The intent of her work is the primordial, the emergence of nature from beneath culture – in the same way as her colours are layered, and dark is transparently contained in light.
In Mideele Schade’s work, it is essentially the difference between landscape and nature, between force of nature and cultural prowess, that surprises and amazes, reconciles with the mundane and instigates an inquiry into our own origin and nature. Through this difference, painting transcends the foreground of landscape and reveals nature, to be found behind and beneath, bringing to the fore what has emerged from the universe independently from human activity. Thus, each of her landscapes is a ‘monad’: a coherent, consciously structured and intentional yet, above all, beautiful entity – monas – of the world as a whole.
© Hajo Eickhoff 2004