Markus Baldegger’s paintings are informed by the perception of light and the possibilities of color. Intricate yet spontaneous, his oil and tempera paintings are comprised of small, irregular overlapping circles in pastel colors. Aiming to recreate the effervescent passing of a single moment in time, Baldegger dedicates his paintings entirely to the present moment: Each painting is impossible to replicate, according to the artist, because the lighting is so precise. Capturing the diaphanous and ever-changing qualities of light, his paintings are rich in texture, and layered with applied paint and chalk. Each layer contains multiple emotional states; the lower layers, cool and neutral, build up to the upper layers, which are impastoed with frenetic energy.
The Swiss-born painter has a current exhibition, “Recent Paintings,” on display at Baltimore’s C. Grimaldis Gallery. The exhibition includes works made by the artist over the last few years, mainly coming from two series, “Day/Night” and “For the Birds.” Baldegger, who is based in Belgium and Germany and has exhibited at the Siegerland Museum, the Leonhardi Museum, and the Daniel-Pöppelmann Museum, approaches the process of painting more cognitively than narratively.
Though the paintings are abstract, many of his webbed scribbles mimic nature, resembling colorful tumbleweeds and bird eggs. On closer inspection, the brushstrokes have a distinct rhythm to them, as the circles, ellipses, and spirals come to balance out one another. Certain paintings employ more symmetrical circular patterns, as in one of several untitled works from 2010, while his more recent works embody freer, passionate designs with darker, more vibrant colors and vertical red lines. Another notable work is Saturnia III (2010), a scarlet-red work with large ellipses that encapsulate hundreds of even tinier circles, evoking biomorphic imagery of blood vessels and cells.
“Recent Paintings” is on view at C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, Oct. 1–Nov. 15, 2014.