The Ethereal Stone

Presenting a dichotomy of weight and ethereality, the work of Schmitz-Schmelzer and Kränzlein transforms foundational building materials into delicate defiances of gravity. Employing wood and stone, the artists offer an extraordinary translation of cumbersome mass into ethereal buoyancy.

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Drawing inspiration from nature and ancient culture’s most elemental forms, Harald Schmitz-Schmelzer’s creations function as a contemporary manifestation of commonalities echoed universally throughout the ages. Through a technique evolved over years of experimentation, pigmented resin is poured in parallel or vertical layers onto a plywood-capped base of raw tropical wood. Marriage of the foundation’s natural variegations to the set resin’s now crystalline surface produces a Minimalist amalgamation of lacquered and matte, transparent and opaque, levity and weight.

Rejecting the common comparison to “3-D color stripes”, the artist cites diversity of chromaticity and translucency in his assertion of each layer’s existence as a sovereign entity. Undulating widths and hues lend a singular vitality to each layer, infinitely distancing Schmitz-Schmelzer’s creations from the monotony of homogenous stripes. In light of such variations, a likening to the sedimentation of geological formations serves as a more appropriate comparison.

The labor intensive process of Dieter Kränzlein belies the clarity and simplicity of his finished work. Carved from metamorphic and sedimentary rock, such as marble and limestone, Kränzlein’s sculptures are characterized by a remarkable lightness, a testament to the artist’s valorous conquest over the medium’s severity. Sourcing stone from steinbruchen (quarries) in the German town of Moos, Kränzlein exploits the material’s natural features by responding to its myriad of inherent imperfections. The result is a dynamic synthesis of organic and geometric forms, some possessing the crystalline delicacy of a snowflake, others the horizontal and vertical geometry of a grid.

Through repetition and variation of carving method, imperfections are transformed into compelling patterns and structures, responsible for granting each work its own unique rhythm. Multifaceted surfaces encourage the viewer to interact with the sculpture from different angles, to perceive new dimensions contingent on one’s position in relation to the work.

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