Galleria Il Ponte, for the Close up cycle in the lounge room on the ground floor, exhibits some works by the german artist Eberhard Ross concerning the series Fermata, paintings specially made not only for the gallery but for different spaces in Florence as well: Cripta of San Miniato al Monte, Palazzo Capponi alle Rovinate (monday-friday 8.00 am-1.00pm / 3.00-7.00pm, saturday 9.00-12.00am) e Arte Mediterranea (via de' Bardi corner Costa Scarpuccia, always avalaible), where each of them wants to be a space for an inner stop where to remain in a conscious silence. Fermata is a word that comes from the musical language meaning that a tone or a chord has to be manteined long, has to ring out. The artist's aim is to give the chance to enter in a special atmosphere of silence and inner concentration...
The color resonates in the space. Fermata, the new group of works by Eberhard Ross
Ever since the emergence of abstract art artists have been looking for an intersection between music and painting in their own works. So does Eberhard Ross. The title of his latest works relates to a musical phenomenon, as he uses a term from the field of musical notation: the fermata. This instruction for the musical rendition is taken from the Italian language and means something like »hold«, »rest« or »stop«. So the fermata stands for a point of rest in the music, when the tone or chord is held longer then the stated note. It is a sign to stop, a musical order to the musician; in Ross´s painting, an order to the spectator. “Just stop for a moment. Hold on, recognize yourself for a while and discover your own rhythm”, is the way the artist himself describes the main idea of his latest series of paintings.
A field of color presents itself to the observer, the centre of which is dominated by a bright spot that at the fringes develops into a darker tone, mostly yellow to orange. The color does not develop to its full brightness; rather it is only a base which seems to be covered with a brighter shade of color. Also the surface seems to be moving, as if it were shimmering. Indeed the artist painted several other layers of paint over the dry paint on the canvas, into which a fine script of lined engravings is then scratched.
Right to the margins Ross´s painting is covered in a dense structural network, scored by hand with a sharp piece of metal into the wet oil paint, making the underlying layer of paint visible once more.
The result resembles a tilted image. The viewer can concentrate on following the engraved traces of the lineament or focus on the layers of paint on the surface. It looks like dried up soil covered in fine fissures. Vague resemblances to natural images spring to mind and show Ross´s fundamental interest in natural phenomena, which form a kind of paradigm for the fermata-series too.
And finally, in fermata Ross includes the backside of the pictures for the first time. For his work he uses tapered frames, elevated in the center, to keep a distance between the canvas and the hanging surface. The strong color of the foundation coat is extended to the fringes and the rear of the painting. It is not visible to the viewer as such, but the reflection of the colors on the frame-base is. Like a corona this colorful reflection surrounds the painting.
There is a reason that Eberhard Ross chooses a musical term for his current series of paintings. From very early on his artworks were formed under the influence of music, says the artist. He listens to music as he works, most of all the solo concerts of piano player Keith Jarrett. But those who think Ross wants to turn what he hears into painting by applying musical structures to his art compositions are wrong. He is instead looking for the “sound of the colors”, or in other words, Eberhard Ross wants to paint sound.
In his constant examination of the visualization of sounds through color Ross reaches with his fermata a momentary summit. He is searching to find a right way to visualize the musical phenomenon of decay. The same phenomenon that is marked by the fermata sign in musical notation as an deliberate fading of sounds is shown in the restrained color of his pictures and most of all in the shining bright gloriole of colors that surrounds the pictures of this latest series. In a true physical sense the colored background encroaches into the space around it, the color resonates in the room or, if you will, the color fades into the room.
‘Color space’ is a term that must be applied to Eberhard Ross´s paintings. Similar to the pillow-pictures of Gotthard Graubner his paintings attain a three-dimensional quality of expression. On watching the painting for an extended period of time it seems as if the bright spot of color in the middle of the painting is in motion, moving in and out of the picture. A cycle Ross evidently describes using the metaphor of a gushing spring or a springing gush, in a rhythm close to respiration.
Listening to the rhythm of the picture and the decay of color, the viewer should find peace of mind for at least a short while, listen to his own rhythm, pay attention to himself. The aim of painting sound, as well as the title fermata, is something Eberhard Ross also wants to be understood metaphorically. That the mood of his pictures is best described as contemplative has already been noted by the art-historian Tobias Burg concerning earlier works. But the latest series also sends the viewer into the picture, allowing him to dive deeply into it spiritually. He wants to set a point of rest, wants the viewer to fermare, to stop and just watch.
Alongside exhibitions in the Palazzo Capponi, the Galleria Il Ponte und the Arte Mediterranea Eberhard Ross has found an ideal space to show one of his fermata-pictures in the Church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence. The sacred building is a place for the mystical immersion of the faithful in order to come close to whatever they believe in. In Eberhard Ross´s paintings this place finds an echo: they too offer a space for contemplation.
Eberhard Ross was born in 1959 in Krefeld, Germany. He studied at the University of Essen (Folkwang-School) with Laszlo Lakner and Friedrich Gräsel. He has been painting and drawing for more than thirty years. Ross has studied the philosophy of Zen Buddhism for many years and this is revealed in his art both in the subject matter and in its execution.
In his more abstract Speicher works, Ross painstakingly covers canvases, aluminium and sheets of drawing paper with calligraphic networks of lines and pattern that develop organically in a repetitive and for Ross something of a meditative process. Ross is fascinated by patterns in nature i.e spiral forms of shells, leaves, butterfly wings, plant cells. As he tries to interpret the natural ‘lines and curves’ found in nature he is also exploring how the tones and hues of colour are affected by the mark-making. His recent investigation into pale-coloured tones have produced paintings as part of the Silent Spaces series.
As we learn more about the laws of natural science through advancing technologies of astronomy, microscopy and time-lapse photography it becomes clear that similar patterns of structure and energy occur in the cosmos and in our own world. For those studying Eastern philosophies there is a familiarity with the idea that everything exists in a continuously dynamic relationship and that there are principles underlying the natural flows of Nature. In essence this is what Ross is trying to convey a sense of in his work.
Solo exhibition since 1999 (selection)
1999 Kraftfelder, Zeche Zollverein, Essen. 2001 Stille.Zeichen, RWW, Mülheim an der Ruhr. 2002 Gerade.Ungerade, Renate Moltrecht Gallery, Essen. 2003 Speicher, Renate Moltrecht Gallery, Essen. 2005 Villa Brandenburg, Collection Ralf Schmitz, Kempen. 2006 Organische geometrie, Kunstmuseum Alte Post, Mülheim an der Ruhr; Organische geometrie, Städtische Galerie Schloss Strünkede, Herne; Organische geometrie, GAM-Galerie Obrist, Essen. 2007 Organische geometrie, The Study Gallery, Poole, Bournemouth; Organische geometrie, Städtische Galerie Brunsbüttel; Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund. 2008 Biosphäre 1, Cora Hölzl Gallery, Düsseldorf. 2009 Source, GAM-Galerie Obrist, Essen. 2010 Space between, Four Square Fine Arts, c/o Redchurch Gallery, London; Organische geometrie 2, Museum Kalkar; Organische geometrie, Nikola Rukaj Gallery, Toronto. 2011 Galerie Hübner & Hübner, Frankfurt am Main; Galerie Heimeshoff, Essen. 2012 Zwischenräume, Kunstverein, Eislingen; Zwischenräume Galerie Kunst2, Heidelberg. 2013 Silent spaces, Kunstverein, Unna; Silent spaces, Galerie Hübner & Hübner, Frankfurt; Silent spaces, Galerie Frank Schlag & Cie, Essen; Silent spaces, Four Square Fine Arts, London. 2014 Luminescence-think of your eyes as ears, Hölzl Kunstprojekte, Düsseldorf; Luminescence-think of your eyes as ears, Galerie Kunst2, Heidelberg; Luminescence-think of your eyes as ears, YoungEun Museum, Gwangjiu; Luminescence-think of your eyes as ears, JJ Joong Jung Gallery, Seoul/Gangnam. 2015 Luminescence-think of your eyes as ears, Galerie Frank Schlag, Essen; Luminescence-think of your eyes as ears, Galerie Hübner & Hübner, Frankfurt; Luminescence-think of your eyes as ears, artpark Gallery, Karlsruhe; Contemplation with Neringa Vasiliauskaite, Galerie stoerpunkt, München. 2016 Fermata, The Wildside Gallery, Antwerpen; Fermata, Galleria Il Ponte, Florence; Fermata, San Miniato al Monte, Florence