Magic of colours: Paintings by Miriam Jarrs

Suddenly the observer feels exposed to the magical attraction of Miriam Jarrs’s large-sized paintings; also in front of “three days”: amongst a subtle green leafy forest, one imagines the scent of awakening spring, the subtle lisping of the leaves can hardly be resisted. Mysterious phenomena are contrary to this pleasant impression. The growth of the branches and leaves appears not to obey nature: the plants run out in all directions, branch forks point towards the ground, leaves align upwards and downwards, left and right; the tree trunks even grow downwards.

Even the gaps have a mysterious life of their own: the translucent white pushes from the background into the foreground; it woos the leaves in order to ultimately replace them and to dominate whole parts of the picture. The dominance of white grows into small explosions. Dynamic swirls and bright bolts flash across the natural and pictorial space. Glittering light pushes everywhere through the leafy forest. Amongst these glimmering natural and colourful visions suddenly emerges the chimera of a figure. A silent witness who through its mysterious presence underlines the surreal atmosphere.

It is not only “three days”, which removes the objects and figures of their gravity – the artist has painted the representation of the forest “upside down” – other works also deny objects their usual appearance or their traditional context. The amorphous ovaloids in “be my son” alone demonstrate the artist’s imaginative ability.

The clever use of colours is complementary to this unnerving object concept. Under a nocturnal yellow sky, blazing red subsoils glow, white trees shimmer, blue streams twinkle or translucent figures appear – the bright colours of the nocturnal apparitions, in which protagonists of mysterious origin operate, have a seductive charisma.

The artist similarly uses colours detached from objective identification space. The example of “three days” can clarify this: on the one hand, the white amorphous structures are perceptible on the canvas as colours, as abstract elements. On the other hand they can only be objectively decoded in context with the picture parts identifiable as a tree or leaves. The artist sees the colours as abstract components, which drag the observer into the depths of the picture. She deals with the objective parties in reverse and allows to be pulled forward. This coexistence of abstraction and concreteness is mutually reinforced and exerts a pull, which cancels each other out. The large formats contribute their part so that the observer is not deprived of this magical effect. The artist provokes an abeyance, which transforms depth and surface, light and dark into a magically lucid scene without shade.

Beyond the categories of abstraction and figuration, the artist exploits the great potential, which inheres the colour. She merges the means of painting to a picture fabric, which effectively penetrates the surface of perception. Only the use of colour as an awareness-expanding medium enables the essence of the traditional visibility to be reached. The timeless picture language of Miriam Jarrs offers a kind of hypertext of the human perception.

Dr. Sven Nommensen, Art Historian (Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum Braunschweig)