Maria Zerres

Room View
Photo: Foto Gastager/R. Winkler
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


With the frame-breaking power and colorfulness of her large-format canvases, Maria Zerres (born 1961) is the youngest artist in the collection and also the only woman in the museum's circle of artists. Her early works are evidence of a vehemently expressive entry into the kind of painting that first brought Germany international attention again with the Junge Wilden of the 1980s.

Ausflug (aus der Serie Schöne Landschaften), 1995
Photo: Foto Gastager/R. Winkler
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

The motif of the tree runs through the artist's work from the very beginning. The directness of her approach to the subject of the painting is reminiscent of elements of Art Brut or Informel. In her more recent works, the graphic brushstroke for the tree structure is combined with individual areas of color loosely placed on the picture ground. They form a lively framing or enter into a direct dialogue with the graphic structures through overlays and gestural application of paint.

Maria Zerres' works are created spontaneously on the canvas without any preliminary drawing. However, they prepare each other: The poppy seed oil, which dries with difficulty, and even more so the artist's almost baroque abundance of ideas, necessitate always working simultaneously on several works that form series. Individual pictures are thus particularly closely linked: within the tree series, for example, the black-ground large formats, the green "Beautiful Landscapes" or the more recent "March Pictures".

Her tensions between pure form and figurative sign, between visible brushstroke and smoothed surface, spatial suggestion and active counteraction of any central perspective are among the lively characteristics of Maria Zerres' works.

As the only artist on site, Maria Zerres was entrusted from the outset with the concept for the exterior colour scheme of the museum buildings. As the primary color chord and basis of the painting, it is an eye-catching sign of the conscious rededication of this site.