Martin Schnur: In sich selbst

Martin Schnur's current solo exhibition at the bechter kastowsky galerie in Vienna shows a new series entitled "In itself". In keeping with Schnur's painting style, he also works in his new works with his typical picture-in-picture manner and the depiction of a singular person. The copper plate on which the figures stand reflects them in a reddish brown tone.

Martin Schnur's painting has rarely been so clear, so strong. The landscape, which is the "frame picture" of his scenery, has an almost infinite depth. They are riverside landscapes, lush green in their vegetation. In full bloom, the massive trees stand in rows and are reflected in a calm water, shone on by the sun. Nature provides an all-encompassing depth in these works. The figure stands in this calm environment. Yes, it stands, leans forward a little and looks into the depths: into the depths of this calm, sunlit water, were it not for the copper plate on which it stands. This plate reflects the reflection back and the person seems to be lost in dialogue with herself, with her reflection. Because of the copper material on which the figure is standing in the real model, the entire scene is bathed in a reddish light.

Here the painter, who was born in Styria, once again tells one of his typical stories, which, as is so often the case with him, everyone can "think up" for themselves. It is not the figure, it is not the movement, it is not nature that becomes the main subject of his work here - it is the combination of all these areas. It is pure painting that knows how to capture depth in the sense of the colour scale of a Danube school, as it were, with the depth of a tilted reflection on one and the same picture carrier. Perspectives overlap, proportions are suspended, for suddenly a branch appears infinitely large, it mutates into a barrier between figure and lake. This is not about photorealistic depictions, this is not about packing a narrative into a picture, this is solely about painting. Martin Schnur depicts feelings, he sensitises the eye and the emotion: he is once again the director of his own film genre.

And then: two medium-format portrait paintings. Woman and man each in three-quarter portrait turned slightly away from the camera, they look into the distance. Their background is outshone by copper tones and to their left huge leaves of a shrub tower up. "Sunk in themselves" and yet they seem as if they belong together, are one. The reference to wedding portraits from painting history comes up. Two pictures that stand alone and suddenly become one when put together.

As is so often the case, Martin Schnur makes use of two people in his models, whom he takes from his circle of friends and who do not earn their living with the profession of a model, they are to be understood as representative of society, of the general public, and they act according to the painter's instructions and thus express the mood and emotional world of the latter. Whether transfigured, gazing into the distance, or in motion, jumping, Martin Schnur already works according to a strict concept in his photographic models. In the studio, with the help of nature photographs, a kind of collage is then created, which is subsequently transformed into a painting.