Pattern, Color, Texture - Observing the History

The Academy sends four students to enjoy a two-month residency at the Leipzig International Art Programme in the historic Spinnerei in Leipzig. Holly Ann Sailors, Aleah Chapin, Nicolas Holiber and Alexander Barton blog with us while they're on residency in Germany.

By Holly Ann Sailors (MFA 2012)

Its 3:50 am. I am thinking about painting. The birds are beginning to chirp, and the brilliant sun is peeking over the edges of gutters scaffolding, and bricks. I lay here, watching the warm violet light turn to cobalt blue. The sky gracefully transitions into a warm yellow stream of light exposing the texture of the giant oil stains on the 15-foot ceiling of my studio. The dark rich sienna abstraction converses with my artwork, layers of soot reminiscent of a landscape.
Oil Stained Ceiling

Metallic Chipping in Leipzig
German artist Gerhard Richter said that “Perhaps the Doors, Curtains, Surface Pictures, Panes of Glass, etc. are metaphors of despair, prompted by the dilemma that our sense of sight causes us to apprehend things, but at the same time restricts and partly precludes our apprehension of reality.”

Leipzig Canal Decomposition
Artistic Expression and remnants of Political destruction exist simultaneously here. Walls have been painted in a failed attempt to cover graffiti. Paintings are growing and curling their way out of concrete walls. Close examination exposes the cracks and layers of the human hand. The streets show a physical manifestation of political and artistic turmoil. Years of creative oppression and frustration can be seen in the doors, walls, and decomposed structures.

 Even the incredulous viewer can be convinced by the history of this place by looking at the falling buildings. Vacant lots, wide streets, and vast expanses of empty buildings make the town feel heavy. The rusted iron fences are twisted in shapes that vibrate to your eyes. Metallic paint peeling, vines twisting, paint cracking, colors, lines, textures, and patterns have overlaid the towns.

Grafitti and Gum, Berlin Wall

From concert posters, to back alley graffiti, there is a visual synthesis. High contrast patterns, textures, and words live hand in hand with looming architecture.  Layers of gum and graffiti cover the small section that’s left of the Berlin wall. The people have moved forward, covering the past with color and reiterating a new day. Whether a visitor like myself can fully understand or not, the rust, dust, and street art speak to the history and keep me inspired. The sun sets in a vast array of oranges and purples, bouncing off the broken windows of a factory. There is a sense of hope and aspiration. The underlying progression of this place has fueled energy for my painting. I am learning more and more about my personal history, my environment, and how it translates through in a brushstroke.


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