Although the twentieth century is now well behind us, it has brought us progress through science, techniques and technology which has totally changed our lifestyle today. However, a number of these changes are now being questioned. Excessive development and overconsumption are now being rejected by many rational people. The twenty-first century man wants to return to his past, one that he knows or that he imagines being full of well-being and tradition. This modern man wants to help his planet which he sees is in grave danger of being destroyed. He wants to rebuild this sick earth into a ‘new world’ and give a new meaning to his life by advocating fairer traditional values. Fundamental questions about the fate of man are now being raised. These topics are the subject of questions by artists today such as Brigitte Wagler, who invites us to come and see her art because ‘Art make Visible’.
The last century was about speed, mass production, excessive marketing and innovation, the key stubjects in painting from 1900 to the mid-1970s. But it was the questioning of existing political systems and emerging economics that has inspired the commitment from artists to build a better society. These upheavals have not gone unnoticed and they have contributed to and participated in, advancing ethics, often meaning radical changes. Today avant-garde is no longer a word used in Western art for its several millennia old. Painters have now returned to the start for « The eternal return ». Times have changed and it is high time to return to human feelings, « Emotions », and the ancestral know-how. Let’s get back to «the crux of the senses», a return to painting, return to the human figure, the hands and the body. These were and remain the preferred sphere of training for all academic and studio painters. Back to human basics, feelings, questions, doubts and mysteries.
It’s time to take time, your time
It is this that Brigitte Wagler fully understands and applies in the choice of topics she tackles, and her thorough knowledge of the science of composition, rhythm and finally by her mastery of colour harmonies and oil painting techniques. She offers us a world spectacle, of her world, a reborn world in which we would all like to recognise. The work of this artist originates from life and she uses round or ovoid forms to validate this. Her other source of exploration comes from great feelings that form a way of life she wants us to return to. Her paintings of gigantic proportions make us think of icons, not by the treatment of figures, or format but by the evocative strength and the power of introspection that is released inside the spectator. These oils on massive sized canvas or wood seem to float in space, like modern tapestries, the subject is light and gently positioned on usually transparent linen. It is a painting full of shade, half tone and light. The artist enjoys playing with the colour tone and systematically refuses to fall into the monochrome. This is a soothing constant and we cannot find any form of aggressiveness whatsoever in the paintings by Brigitte Wagler. Here, everything is « calm, luxurious and voluptuousness. What is surprising is that Madame Wagler like Matisse, paints in the confines of her workshops in Nice and Paris… Away from the crowds, noise and distractions she can focus exclusively on her work, on what is essential and on the images she meticulously slowly builds.
Her compositions besides being classical, offer the viewer her favourite subjects. This is where she excels, in representing figures of both men and women. Often the two are found mixed, interlaced by or in arabesques or overlapped in layers. The man is and will remain a subject of emotion, sensual, in a time and universal place that preserves his humanity. Space and time are eliminated and have no reference to a specific place. Human beings are presented from the front or in profile. The subject must face his fate. They have all a sculptural feel and seem both full and empty. The design of these empty yet intense arabesques suggests certain roundness. There are few shadows in her paintings, enabling us to feel just how the light from the South crushes the colours and flattens the density in her work. These alluring figures are generated from the unlimited use of lines and curves. These characteristics could be in fact the spectator, without true identity and regard. The view that we see depends on the artist and what comes from right from the core of her heart and soul. That which comes from art since « art makes everything clear ». These ideals appear as figures with the use of lines, some thick, which keep working until a shape of a breast forms resembling a figure as if in cut metal. Also I can’t stop thinking about Pablo Gargallo, who was an innovator in his time. Sinuous lines, untwisting, elegant spirals that dissect space showing the shape of living beings, man and woman standing or lying relating to everything.
Her colours possess a rare and transparent quality, rooted in the soul of the painter, in her life, what she reads and her thoughts. It is an extensive colour palette full of subtle controlled shades. In her paintings shapes are designed and set by colour, soft sensual shapes that are never too intensely coloured. Colour lives inside human beings. Her technique of painting is delicate, thinly layered and not heavily applied; it is translucent in places and shows structure. Her « distinct » colours, which appeal to our compassionate nature, are few but they are full of life and not offensive. Harmonious colours are like musical chords which make us hear a variety of instruments. This is why I happen to judge these musical paintings from this exceptional artist. « Delacroix talked about colourful harmonies and beautiful colors: ‘ it’s a musical affinity! » This is how we see and hear Mrs Wagler. The German way of reverting back to colour, is romantic like Goethe and abstract like Kandinsky. She knows that lovely painting is a harmonic composition that she alone is capable of enveloping in, the same way as one does with music. Don’t we say colours sing? You can also make colours sing is the same way you pay particular attention in how you make and apply them, like Paul Klee her illustrious predecessor.
Blank images are not found in her work. Instead it is full of life depicting men and women looking into themselves or towards the present. It is this relationship with others that Madame Wagler enjoys painting, the couple, « the family » of « meeting ». Her characters seem plagued by doubts and questions. The essence of the life of men, it seems to me, depends on a field of exploration and work. Painting questions man and men’s destiny, and on her canvases the characters are never alone. Plagued by doubts and questions on major issues of human and humanity they seek in each other and with each other, a way to make more of their way of life. Intellects of this thought are equally there to encourage viewers to ask themselves the same questions? Madam Waglers art is not decorative; it is more than anything forward thinking and introspective. All these beings have evolved in an existing space however indefinable. They are suspended on a musical stave. The painter plays her score and its forms and lines can be heard and understood. Some elements are borrowed from our daily vessels full of symbolic and female content recalling fate and the fragility of man and all his feelings. Her painting without true narration only serves to question our past, current life and our future. The artist offers experience as a lovely gift, images that are the outputs of her life and filtered by her hyper sensitivity. She presents something even more profound. « I pay as much attention to the man who produced the artwork as the work itself » said Vincent Van Gogh and I would return to this thought about the work of the artist Brigitte Wagler. A woman who sees clearly and transparently yet is tender and indulgent; there is a look of peace in her paintings in which lives an invulnerable and dynamic force.
«Aliis contempla tradere,» give to others what we contemplate. This is what is meticulously and generously applied by Madam Wagler in her paintings through her use of the brush opening it up to our gaze. It is not only that she has contemplated or contemplates, but it is not first and foremost a great gesture of generosity. She not only shows but shares us what she has seen and experienced. These are intensive and sensitive experiences including what she has learnt over the years from love too, and her talent enables her to portray these in her in her paintings and work.
Raphael said to paint and paint well the painter should think of nothing. This can be applied to the art of Mrs Brigitte Wagler. She likes to think of herself as an artist who paints by instinct from something deep inside herself. She searches right into her soul and no longer looks around herself. This produces a work of from memory, assimilation and imagination, a dream in a way for you to see. It’s a kind of abstraction, in its original sense that means to say it is extracted from her memory. Moreover, one cannot dream of things that we don’t know. So this is what we can find in her work. Aimlessly free, she paints without a proper subject imposed on the form that she copies or mimics and on which we could focus on. She paints emotions and lets herself go and be guided by the breath of her inspiration, feelings, danger and encounters. She is one of those artisans who by mastering technique has become an artist because of her talent, a true artist. She has inside herself something that cannot be learned. Fantasy and freedom characterize her works with plenty of tenderness too. This is the work of a painter with a frankly optimistic nature, sometimes captivatingly optimistic. Artists of this particular type are a passionate yet lucid breed who affirm that they love their work to be perfectly executed so that it better identifies and penetrates the truth. Because her paintings cater more for the soul and the spirit, the art of Madam Wagler is complete insofar as it absorbs the entirety of her life, her soul and her heart.
« Art does not reproduce the visible, it makes visible » said Paul Klee who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. His paintings arise at an indeterminate time and were born from an unknown source but it certainly arose. Only shapes and colours reflect the inner emotions of the artist which combine into a new language on a flat surface, a canvas. « I don’t show anything, I express simply my feelings and I hope that I can continue to do so. She paints human passions hiding their anguish. She wants to show in her work lightness, a joy that one is not able to work out how effort it has cost her. She paints with an apparent ease. It is much larger, deeper, it is universal.
Finally, there is still room in 2014 for a painting that is not full of anger, or carried by an eccentric painter who looks to only sell in a commercial spot in Paris, but for a painting that stands simply for itself: its subject, style and strength.
She uses for her form not only living nature but you will find in her painting a creative and emotional energy which show cases her genius. The whole form shapes the canvas but it is the colour that makes it quite unique. She is absolutely noncompliant in the merits of all her contemporaries although she fully appreciates them. Every artist she says with reason must do his work and avoid slipping consistently into the mire of a successful formula. Everyone should experiment and find their work, that is to say, to express themselves by painting their real emotions on canvas. She continues to search for the right answer on her own journey and refuses to reinterpret the work of others. Like all true artists, she is plagued with doubts, and is ever hungry for new areas to explore and new ideas to capture.