Everyone knows these magical moments at the break of dawn: The first faint light of dawn begins to brighten the horizon. Hesitantly, vague contours start to appear in the landscape, but everything still unfolds in varying shades of gray. Then, gradually, nuance by nuance, the first colors crystallize in the morning light. As it gets brighter, the colors become more vibrant, and gradually, the contours transform into recognizable shapes. Once the first direct rays of the sun mix in with their warm streaks of light, these shapes gain more substance and solidity. They begin to appear three-dimensional, and the surfaces take on distinct textures. This delicate, ever-repeating spectacle fascinates me. It stimulates my color senses and deeply inspires me.

This constant changing of colors motivates me to develop a corresponding language of form and color and to implement this in my painting.




In the color field painting of an artist like Mark Rothko, for example, I am thrilled by the pulsing of colors he achieves through his unique application of paint, the apparent floating of color fields within other color fields. However, I am even more interested in the possibility of not just letting colors float, but also allowing them to expand and change in real terms. Placing colors on the canvas that are in motion, that breathe and pulse. Colors that can gain in area and retract, that are not definitively fixed in their tonality – a cool turquoise blue is not necessarily just a turquoise blue but sometimes shifts into silver-green or transforms into a dark violet-red. To experience this change in colors on my paintings, the viewer only needs to change their position in front of the picture, to the right, left, up, or down. Depending on the light conditions and the viewing angle, the painting appears very different in color, and various often inexplicable color transformations occur. This allows the painting to actively communicate with the viewer and engage them in an initially often unexpected dialogue.




I paint with light and color. For the past 20 years, I have exclusively focused on incorporating colored light into my painting. I achieve this by using interference pigments, pigments that have no intrinsic color but possess the ability to reflect colored light similarly to tiny prisms.

I combine these pigments with traditional color pigments, processing them in an extremely complex, glazing application with often more than 70 layers. This allows me to simultaneously let colored light and pigment color work on a painting, thus achieving an unparalleled changeability of colors.


But I am also very interested in achieving a spatial dimension of colors on an essentially flat, tautly stretched canvas. Not a central perspective, but a precisely guided brushstroke, whose trace is capable of focusing light, causes the center of the picture to move forward or backward.

The resulting texture may appear silky, partly interspersed with radial lines that are raised or may appear as scratch marks, then again as an almost mirror-smooth field, but always with a surface that also appeals to the tactile perception, as the eye cannot fully explain what it sees.

I want to arouse curiosity to encourage active exploration of the painting, not just to address the sense of sight but to enable a more holistic experience in dialogue with the painting.


Robert Schaberl © 2019