Painter Elke Zauner is based out of Riverside’s German Sister City of Erlangen. Working in loosely structured abstraction, Zauner obliquely contrasts the viewer’s physical spatial awareness with fictive and immersive suggestions of architecture and atmosphere. Zauner says of her work:
In my paintings I deal with architecture and light, the transitions between light and space, and the transparency of materiality. During my 2008 scholarship stay in the Villa Massimo in Rome, I further developed these painting skills. What particularly influenced me was the Roman light and the openness of the buildings, their architectural play of light, air, and shade, as well as the unbelievable easiness and elegance of the millennia-old buildings. One of my favorite buildings was the Pantheon, so I have picked up many elements of its architecture in my works, such as the protruding columns and the play of light.
The fact that I started extending my works beyond the canvas to the walls is certainly also due to the influence of such magnificent pieces of art as the garden painted in the Villa Livia, or the ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel. By fitting the canvas into the respective room situations, my paintings gain the character of an installation.
Presented in large format paintings that hang low and continue off the canvas and onto the walls, Zauner’s works function both as mirrors of reality and as an entry point into labyrinthine dream space. The haptic, expressive sensibility of Zauner’s work offers a record of the artist’s physical motion during their creation – a veil, a playful remark, or a confrontation situated within real and illusory space. “I want to embrace painting as an active participant in the discourse on art,” says Zauner, “…ably linking tradition and contemporary experience, formal and conceptual, artist and spectator.”
Elke Zauner has worked in art restoration and studied painting at the Academy of Visual Arts in Munich, where she graduated as Meisterschülerin in 2002. She is the recent recipient of a Foreign Scholarship to Villa Massimo, Rome, and has also received scholarships to work in Austria and Iceland, as well as throughout Germany. Zauner is represented by Bunsen Goetz Galerie in Nuremberg and arsprototo gallery in Erlangen, Germany. She has held solo exhibitions throughout Germany, Italy, Iceland, Sweden, and Switzerland. The Riverside Art Museum is proud to present Zauner’s first U.S. solo exhibition.