On the Brink

Schoener, who is most known for her large panoramic landscape paintings that include white negative spaces, uses the theater and orchestra as her subject matter. As in her previous paintings, Schoener’s paintings continue to focus on the pictorial tension between the explicit and the implied, the seen and the unseen. The viewer is free to extrapolate what is left unstated and to embrace the unknown.

The sparseness allows the viewer to participate in the scene, to enter the story and in some way, create one’s own narrative. In all of her canvases a pencil sketch of the entire scene starts the process but in the end it does not dictate the result. Much of that drawing will remain unfilled, a barely visible ghost-presence that only appears when we approach closely.

Though she is from the far west of Germany, Schoener went east to study in Dresden not long after the Wall came down. There, under the influence of the Leipzig School, she was exposed to an unbroken tradition of figurative painting maintained and oddly protected behind the iron curtain during a time when this type of academic training had virtually disappeared in the west. This influence can be detected in her assured drawing, her strong compositional sense, her lack of false drama. Her palette, subtly shimmering against the powerfully empty presence of the white field, is made up largely of close-hued greens, browns and grays. The resulting works are finely balanced, enigmatic compositions which resonate with a peculiar truth even as they leave much to the imagination.

Silke Schoener was born in 1968 in Krefeld, Germany and currently resides in Kassel. She attended art school in Kassel and Dresden from 1988-94. Her work has been exhibited widely in Europe, in Japan and in New York.

2014
-"Theater and Orchestra Paintings," Dillon Gallery, NYC