Flowers Gallery is pleased to present new paintings by the award-winning figurative artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, which engage with the vast, unknowable nature of natural phenomena, while also treating the landscape as a site of personal spiritual reflection. His approach conveys the profound influence of nineteenth century German Romantic painting, particularly the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich and his portrayal of the sublime experience of nature.
Schierenberg’s paintings are characterised by heavy swathes of oil paint, laid on in broad sweeping gestures, or dragged and scraped across the surface. In his new works, Schierenberg pushes the limits of his painterly surface further – exposing large areas of under-painting, and manipulating the space between the foreground and background planes with delicate drips and splashes. Bright flashes of non-naturalistic orange and red, which are revealed from behind the deep, brooding blues and greens of foliage, can be seen to imbue the paintings with an inner, psychic intensity.
Two large paintings in the exhibition depict the eerie solitude of remote woodland paths in the Bavarian Forest in Germany, where he spent much of his childhood. Pictured from a low and disorienting perspective, trees and rocks tower over the viewer to form an almost cathedral-like architectural structure. Rocks also feature in paintings of the Los Padres National Forest in California, from which the exhibition takes its title. Here, immense lone boulders, which the artist describes as the “eternally grim fathers” preside over the rugged terrain, their brutal, looming presence appearing to diminish any sense of mastery over nature.