Marieluise Barbara Bantel

Born 1949, Germany

Lives in: Metzingen, Germany

Describe your art in 3 words: Flower painting, Still life, Figurative painting

See More Work:

Hydrangea (Silence) - Oil on canvas 50 x 70 cm

"The fact that I prefer to devote myself to the artistic subject of flower painting is due to my closeness to nature, which goes back to my childhood in a rural environment and on the other hand to early stays in the countryside in England. With my art, I do not only want to depict and reproduce, but to express a deeper reality and statement behind what is depicted."

What themes does your work involve?
My current project is titled "The Beauty of Decay". The painted plants serve as a metaphor in a world of mass products. The artworks are still lifes and combine three typical aspects of this genre: figurative painting, flower painting and the reference to transience. But while most classical flower still lifes show whole bouquets, I concentrate on individual flowers. This gives me and my works the opportunity to relate the vanitas motif to the individual as well. At the same time, with my series of paintings, I expand the admonishing still-life concept of transience to include the element of beauty. It is precisely in decay that the fragile and noble beauty of life is revealed.
Describe your creative process.
The creation of each painting is a multi-part process. First the motif is chosen, then the drying process of the plant takes place. This is followed by a selection of the most interesting dried plants. They were then positioned in a way that expressed their beauty the most. The positioning of the light is also an important step to allow a play of transparency and shadow. In the next step, sketches are made and then painted with oil paints. In this series, painting is done without a background on the canvas. This makes painting very demanding - but at the same time allows full concentration on a subject that is so often avoided: transience.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
My work is inspired and influenced by nature. Therefore, I am currently concentrating on flower painting. I observe the blossoming and fading, growth and decay of plants wherever I encounter them. All plants change in colour, shape, density, transparency and expression. It is a mostly slow decay. A play of colours emerges. The stem changes shape, becomes thin and flattens out. The structure is clearly visible on the leaves. The sepals curl due to the loss of water. The petals show bizarre shapes. The pistil with the stigma elongates and the anthers thin out. It is a metaphor for the human being. Art is therefore very inspiring for me because I can go beyond the spoken word with it. This fascinates me and encourages me to create art - and thus messages.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art enables the recipient to reflect on and empathise with the constitution of the world. This makes it a repository of deeper knowledge. Good art, in my view, accordingly transcends (but can include) photorealistic representation and allows us to see more than the eye can see. Art can therefore serve as a metaphor or an impulse. If art manages to pose or answer questions, to move something in the viewer, to give him impulses or to trigger controversy, it has achieved what good art should achieve.
What is the role of the artist today?
The artist is a kind of poet. He not only depicts, but conveys feelings and messages that are significant in life and are meant to convey a deeper insight. The messages do not have to be visible at first sight. But the artist should create a projection surface for the viewer to reach insights. This is a difficult task, but it is very important - and thus the artist and art in general have an important social function and importance that stands above consumption. Art in all its forms represents the highest level a society can reach. For me, the words of the poet Friedrich Hölderlin are very inspiring about the meaning of art: "Learn art in life, and in art learn about life, / Can you rightly perceive the one, will you do so in the other, too."
Change - Oil on canvas 80 x 120 cm
Decay - Oil on canvas 80 x 120 cm
Daffodil - Oil on canvas 60 x 80 cm
Embrace (Tulips) - Oil on canvas 80 x 120 cm


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist