If a visual and perspective reference disappears before us in images, our gaze becomes all the more tactile and is initially set back to purely experiencing the painted surface. The gaze softly and auratically sinks into the color fields of the canvas surfaces and glides gently over the overlapping square planes of color. The presence of a motif is not completely renounced, but instead visualizes a shift - a withdrawal into the background and an apparent merging into the bright layers of color. In some places, it is still perceptible as a trail of geometric metaphors based on emerging interfaces and processes. They delicately and also transparently leave behind the visual convention of abstract image composition and situate the center of painting as an extended network of interdependent color fields.
Although they are the result of a continuous work process that does not stop at the moment of the work’s supposed completion, Schellberg’s compositions of subtle layers of paint do not only emerge out of the abundance of impasto centers, but are initially formed here in their reduction. In a withdrawal that, through its reduction of motifs, allows new images to develop through the emergence of what was previously an enthralling and deep atmospheric area in the background of the works. Here, it is their constantly underlying foundation - the depth of color material and the subtle levels of painting - that stands out.
Missing denotes the proverbial absence of images - of painterly explorations. The rejection of a prerequisite of motifs from abstract compositions, as it still inspired the focus on geometrical forms and lines and ostensibly the finding of something new. A development that the center of painting not only gives way to at its margins, but also consolidates it here, and looks deep into the structures of image composition. Like the references to the US tradition of Minimal Painting in the 1960s and 1970s, the main focus of Schellberg’s five images on the same canvas size of 50 x 60 cm that are shown in the upcoming exhibition shifts to the underlying layers of paint. To the slight powderiness, which is the result of the actual painting process, and in which the nuances of light and shadow, as accents, suspensefully form the independent nature of the image. With them, the color fields are also in motion; their translucent quality takes on a life of its own as a result of the finely applied layers, and they find their counterbalance in the seemingly fixed frames.
And yet in Schellberg’s paintings there are few movements that seem recognizable at first glance, but they produce the significant change - and thus mood - of the works in which the individuality of their abstract character is based. In Missing they subtly face each other like a colored echo, whose translucent reflections leave the works and their sensitive structure up to us - allowing us to continually discover a new image - without giving any further thought to the promise of an endpoint.
Philipp Fernandes do Brito