Color spreads across Roswitha Huber’s canvases like waves of harnessed energy. Confined within the artificial boundaries of the canvas, the energy seems to struggle to break free. Although the paintings are flat in profile, they have a deep dimensional quality. They are dramatic. Bold colors placed one against another, and one on top of another, seem to jockey for supremacy. Huber’s disciplined hand keeps each of them in check, ensuring equipoise among forces that might otherwise descend into riot. The artist’s innovative mixed-media technique adds to the drama. Where, forexample, she places water-based pigments on top of oil, the natural repulsion between the two leaves behind beaded traces, like the archeological record of a great tumult. In the conflict, beauty and balance prevail over the dark forces of disorder.
Art historian and author Iris Schmeisser describes Huber’s current work: “Organic forms and natural materials, arranged and combined as ‘shifting fields’ of color, reign supreme in Roswitha Huber’s most recent paintings: fields of color, ascending and descending in tone, border on each other in shifting patterns of consonance and dissonance . . . . The difference in media that the artist chooses to combine in her work is of critical importance. Her deliberate choice of disparate liquids . . . provides room for the accidental in her work as colors, to a certain degree, work independently with and against each other on canvas.”
There is nothing accidental, however, in the strong composition of each piece. The artist holds a tight rein on the competing forces. Her paintings are both controlled and flexibly responsive to the changes that play out before the artist’s eyes-a process that Schmeisser labels “self-reflective,” the result of balancing “the simultaneity of control and improvisation.” The results are very much the artist’s own.
“The painter … uses the specific tools of painting … for the effects on the play between the illusion of space within the painting and its actual flat surface. At first glance everything appears simple and obvious. Over a soft background shapes from the world of flora, food and ornaments unfold on the uppermost layer of the painting, shapes that in relief or as round, three dimensional forms appear almost physically tangible, practically jumping out at the viewer. The paintings invite the viewer to enjoy the beauty of a two-dimentional magical garden. Rilke says, ‘Beauty is nothing more than the beginning of the terrible.”