Fragile branches, a forest floor thinly covered with snow, the gaze deflected by ingenious reflections of trees. In his forest paintings Konstantin Déry obstructs our orientation, much like nature itself, which will immediately overgrow any free space. Déry's landscapes very subtly symbolize a form of disorientation that unlocks a deep-seated passion for loosing oneself in a forest. His painterly approach delicately leads the gaze through layers of oil, whose colours, through their inner momentum, slowly unfold a self-perpetuating quality and mood. In view of a reality aggressively overlaid by technological progress, to the point of turning into a completely digitalised and increasingly believable parallel world, Déry's landscapes appear like blueprints of a lost Eden. For his environments, quite contrary to the reality presently surrounding us, let the eye slow down to a calm, almost forgotten pace, allowing it to play, dream, and loose itself in the patchy, impressionistic forest floor. Uwe Goldenstein
What always fascinated me most about paintings, apart from any recognizable subject matter, is the fact that they can convey so much simply by virtue of their particular manner of presenting the things of the visible world. That’s why I’ve given this aspect increasing prominence in my own work as a painter. The motifs I’ve sought out, always ones I’ve encountered myself in real life, and which people of previous centuries could have encountered out of doors as well, are not typical of any specific era. They are simple, organic motifs that can be found in nature not far from urban areas, and which offer the oil painter manifold possibilities for capturing the inherent truths of these phenomena. They offer a magnificent and inspiring variety of structures as well as combinations of shapes and colors that are at once artistically liberating while at the same time inviting me to develop and intensify them. For me they’re the perfect starting point for a style of painting that endeavors to be highly sensuous and have a direct impact on the viewer.
These motifs are surrounded – sometimes more, sometimes less – by an air of transience, and I think that my engaging with this subject is a mostly unconscious effort on my own part to come to terms in a sober way with the notion of my own mortality. The constant if subliminal allusion to this, alongside the stimulating and stirring, the association-rich proliferation of colors and shapes is for me a very charged and heady combination.
My paintings develop gradually, and I would like the observer to proceed gradually too – in antithesis to the accelerated consumption of rapidly changing images. With their nuanced colors and rough, agitated surfaces, I want my paintings to present another, more primal sensual experience than that of the screen or monitor. It might be that the ever greater flood of images on our television and computer screens is an important reason for the heightened interest these days in more varied forms of sense perception.
By repeating and varying similar motifs, I’ve devised my own technical solutions during the process of painting. Apart from the usual primed canvas, each painting begins with a second monochromatic layer of oil paint applied and smoothed with a palette knife. The color is always different, always vibrant, and always one I mix myself. This base color – a kind of basso continuo – influences, defamiliarizes, and intensifies the colors of the painting from the start, sometimes prompts me to use unusual and surprising colors, and everywhere shines through the daubs of paint that compose the work. This sterile, smooth, matt surface is essentially covered with pastose layers of oil paint – applied not with brushes, but with little, pointed wooden picks and palette knives. This manner of applying the paint eliminates a certain aspect of artistic control, meaning the contours of each compositional element emerge more or less by chance and thus acquire a singular vitality likewise inherent to the rampant flora and decomposing nature sometimes depicted in my works. I keep the remaining substrate paints I mixed for each individual painting and, if possible, incorporate them into subsequent works, again giving rise to a kind of artistic serendipity that can only be controlled to a limited extent, as well as generating an interesting and wide range of colors that sometimes even surprises me. It’s important for me to retain the motif and not
drift off into total freedom, total abstraction. The motif constitutes a framework that keeps the whole process exciting for me, in which freedom must be fought for and is never a total freedom behind which lurks an irrelevance and triviality born of purposelessness and futility. Freedom – and by that I mean relinquishing artistic control as well as the arbitrariness of radical stylization – plays an important role for me, but always that of a servant.
I'm intrigued by the taut balance between the level of representation and control and the level of defamiliarization, dissolution, and the free play of color and form – a balance in which these levels begin to condition and strengthen each other. “Realistic” depictions are energetically charged by the use of defamiliarizing colors and free, playful, chaotic elements, thus pushing the boundaries of realism. Abstraction becomes intriguing by acquiring a purpose in an otherwise “realistic” mode of representation.
January 3, 2015
For more info visit the artists website : www.konstantin-dery.de