Ralph Gelbert – Beyond The Visible
Ralph Gelbert's manner of painting is impulsive, ecstatic, and at times veritably Dionysian. We are dealing here with an art form that refers back to the body, to movements that do not rely on a previously developed concept, but rather follow a physical dynamism and sensual logic. Their art historical roots can be found in art informel, which developed in Paris in the 1940s and 1950s with the goal of liberating painting from its dependence on external reality and thus allowing it to come into its own, so to speak.
Viewers of Gelbert's paintings are made privy to the volcanic energies that have become manifested within them, a sheer delight in rich and at times flamboyant colors which flow out of them, become blurred, form clouds, vortices, and striations. Fantastical spaces emerge in his works, artificial worlds which are neither illustrations of existing sites nor subjective interior spaces. And what may for some appear to be ecstatic is due not only to spontaneous impulses, but also to calculation and discipline.
As with calligraphies in the spirit of Zen, the impression of spontaneity and intensity presupposes a maximum degree of self-control. (Excerpt from: Hans-Walter Schmidt, Les Paradis Artificiels)
Ralph Gelbert – Kunstband
Ralph Gelbert specializes in large-format oil paintings that have their roots in the Informalist tradition. At the same time, however, they also express entirely new artistic styles and techniques. The colour compositions clearly articulate an artistic desire that seeks to highlight the importance of the creative act, both as active and reactive process, while also emphasizing the formal procedures involved in the artistic act.
The high-quality monograph catalogue is beautifully illustrated in colour with examples of Gelbert’s work from the last two years, images which reveal the painter’s use of colour as an artistic medium possessed of its own intrinsic value and endowed with richly associative potential. The paintings and works on paper, though not abstract, are also non-representational. Through their specific titles, referring to real locations and landscapes, the works are contextualized within the spaces that inspired their genesis. The illustrations of the works are accompanied by photographs of Gelbert’s travels and study trips. Together they provide a visual impression of Gelbert’s work that is complemented beautifully by the accompanying texts.