Of Birds and Buildings – Gallery Text

OF BIRDS … It is not the scent of liberty that these small format portraits of birds are evoking. Instead, we are facing our "feathered friends"-  budgies, canaries, parrots and all the others. They are kept in cages and aviaries and sit often alone, a little sleepy, fluffed or even turned away on their artificial branches. Stefan Auf der Maur is catching these birds with apparently sketchy, imprecise brush strokes and a thick application of oil paint and achieves skillful images of immediate liveliness, curious familiarity and a hint of humor.

… AND BUILDINGS – they are defining more and more frequently the landscapes in the suburbs, individual constructions as monoliths, massive functional buildings, warehouses, silos, industrial chimneys – we see them looming in the sky from fareway or carelessly we pass by their solid facades. Thereby we perceive these constructions often as disturbing or even ugly. But Stefan Auf der Maur is watching out exactly for these individual buildings, which stand big and apparently misplaced in the landscape. He is finding his motifs mostly in the near surrounding of Basel by ranging the region with his bicycle. Once he found the right construction and spot, he paints directly at the place with brush and easel – in the old manner. These paintings are fascinating through a subtle tension. On the one hand, the urban or industrial themes are staying in strong contrast with the pronounced picturesque or even nostalgic treatment of the canvas, on the other hand, the viewer is additionally challenged by the unpretentiousness of format and presentation. Stefan Auf der Maur plays with colour, shadow and light. He is breaking off structures and is merging buildings and landscapes and allows herewith new points of view.

Stefan Auf der Maur was born 1979 in Lucerne, he actually lives and works in Basel. He studied design and academic illustration at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Zurich. Since 2008 he is participating regularly in group and individual exhibitions.

© Manuela Hobler, arthobler gallery, March 2015
Gallery Text, OF BIRDS AND BULDINGS, arthobler gallery, Zürich