"Nature is silent and wise", is an aptly formulated poet’s adage. In his current works, Leif Trenkler transfers what the author puts into words to the medium of painting in an individual way, using a wooden base as a picture carrier in the manner of an old master. The artist consciously plays with traditions of representation he has updated, such as the transfigured notions of the mythical Arcadia as an expression of idyllic nature and practiced freedom, or romantically idealized places of strength and retreat in the moonlight.
Trenkler is a fine and attentive observer with a feel for the special and impressive moments when people pause and reflect on themselves in the face of the nature surrounding them. The artist transfers us to places of longing such as Caribbean tropical sceneries, Italian avenues lined with cypresses, parks and ruins shining in the moonlight at night, and lets us be part of the morning mood when nature awakens together with the proverbial early bird and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, which will still be a little longer in coming.
Immersed in diffuse, shimmering light, sometimes glistening, when the sun seems to be at its zenith, then again in the silver shimmering light of the moon and stars, Trenkler portrays situational time-outs and consciously perceived moments of time and tranquillity, travel memories and celebrated idleness. At times, his landscapes seem strangely alienated and distant under a vacuum bell jar, exemplarily detached, when, for example, he reduces lawns to a uniform green surface or makes built structures appear like intricate architectural models. Then again, the scenery turns into a visualised overall impression through his sometimes veiled painting style, in which the foliage of nature is more hinted at than precisely defined, overriding any individual observations, just as we are familiar with from slightly faded memories and or even vague images from dreams. Occasionally there is an intensified exaggeration in the expression with colours, which abstracts the figurative motif to a certain extent and seems to be dramatically charged in the independent intrinsic values of the colour, like colour filters or backlight reflections in a photograph.
In Trenkler's work, the encounter between man and landscape is integrated into harmoniously balanced compositions and describes the longing for harmony and tranquillity in harmony with nature. In their captured and preserved momentariness, the pictures are surrounded by a breath of melancholy and wistfulness, owing to the knowledge of the unreliability of lasting bliss and the transience of the here and now due to constantly progressing time. The contrast between organically grown nature and man-made technical construction is revealed time and again, as can be seen in the architecture and pool landscapes of the chic glass bungalows and their well-situated inhabitants obsessed with their appearance. Nature is perceived as a unit opposed by artificiality during the course of it being reclaimed by man. Nature is cultivated in parks and on avenues and domesticated and staged according to plans. In addition to a grazing horse in a tropical landscape, you can see the ominous-looking tail of an aeroplane not far away from it as a symbol of technical progress and man's constant global penetration into the last so-called paradises of this world. But as with Caspar David Friedrich, Trenkler also conveys a romantically staged landscape of ruins where everything has its time and is ultimately outlasted by nature.
Dr. Veit Ziegelmaier
Exhibition opening: Thursday, 14 November 2019, 7 p.m.
Exhibition runs from 14 November 2019 to 1 February 2020