Order and Obsession

Following Strictly Flowers, shown in 2017, and Derwische (Dervishes), shown in 2017, Pat Rosenmeier has given her most recent paintings the straightforward title DREI (THREE). While the older canvases pursue a similar line of painterly inquiry, they still had to individually strive to assert themselves alongside one another: With THREE, however, the painter has radically limited her parameters. One motif — evidently tulips — and one canon of colors — orange and green — dominate the series. At first glance, we see almost identical paintings, twins — or serial painting. The series is an art form of the late 19th century to the present, whether “representational or abstract, painting, object art or photography,” as noted by Uwe Schneede, former director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Early on, there were Monet’s Haystacks, for example, or works ranging from Josef Albers’s Homage to the Square to Warhol’s exclusively serial work from the 1960s onward.

Nonetheless, the context of the motifs and the artistic motivations are very different. Practical considerations led Monet to want to capture the shifting atmospheres of light, en plein air, in front of an unvarying motif: All academically trained painters at the end of the 19th century still considered this an important manner. In Pierre Henri de Valencienne’s educational treatise he writes: “painting the same view at different times of day in order to study the differences that the light brings to the forms. The changes are so clear and so amazing that we can barely recognize the same objects. “

At the cutting edge of his time, Warhol used the recently developed silk-screen technique for his art, utilizing the most current technology as his “brush” in a world of serially produced goods.

In Pat Rosenmeier’s case, as always, the issue is primarily painting itself and not representation, not to mention tulips. The motif and canon of colors are random. However, the limitation to this motif and this canon of colors is new in Rosenmeier’s work. 3.1 to 3.11 – serial painting!

Franz Meyer

The author is an art historian and lives in London.