Bettina Hachmann’s paintings are ambiguous, besides to associations with landscapes with reeds and grasses in the fog, they tell stories of real life, of injury and healing. With her very own handwriting out of many work steps, such as multiple color application, abrasion and cuts in the canvas, she achieves a special intensity. She is interested about the acceptance of the dark sides and the beauty which is hidden there. Since 1999 she has been present at numerous exhibitions and fairs in Germany and abroad. The 1967 born artist has her studio on the Rhine in a castle with a moat.
Reflection and Contemplation
In Bettina Hachmann’s works the colors of white, gray and black dominate. These non-colors are a stage in the cycle of nature, in which, without reflection and contemplation, the birth of new life would not be possible. The artist points out: ‘All life; germination, and fertilization happens in the darkness, and so black and gray are for me not only gloomy or a sign of depression, but also of reflection and contemplation.’ Despite her sparing use of color the paintings do not seem flat or monotonous. By color fillings, energetic work on the painting surface, and blurring, the painter creates a complexity that takes the viewer deep inside. In many of her earlier works there is a clear link to the landscape, horizontal lines are reminiscent of horizons, and cuts are grasses or reeds. By following the question of how much a landscape really needs, in order to be re cognized as such, the concrete forms are reduced and only a compacted horizon area remains. Lately even these last signs dissolve, and only gentle gradients remain.
Some works, through having a floating, mysterious aura, remind the viewer of the light from dawn or dusk, as found in paintings of the Romantic Caspar David Friedrich. The special secret of her work seems to be in this floating quality. Opposing movements are constantly happening in her work: the cutting and then sewing up the canvas, the dissolving of the horizon and its modified reappearance; the dark and the light.
Bettina Hachmann’s paintings are abstract and go even further: the materials are no longer recognizable. To the question: ‘What are they made from?’ There is no certain answer to the eye. The shape, the materiality itself is the theme. The material elements have changed, and now resemble leather or even graphite plate. This effect is created by using graphite dust, shellac and beeswax in addition to basic acrylic paint. She has a great interest in her materials. She experiments with them, exploring their specific structures, and uses a variety of surfaces such as canvas and wood panel. Paper also serves as a basis, onto which she adds several layers of paint, and through polishing it a completely new materiality develops; it becomes distorted.
Technically she uses layers, up to 16 layers on the canvas or paper, where she washes out the color again by spraying water and then rubbing it off. She puts paper or filler on like a collage, which recall the relief-like contours on encrustations. Again the materials used should not be recognizable. She has used beeswax as a layer of paint since 2009, which has the same distorting effect.
The artist knows her materials and her techniques through years of experience, and she knows about their effect. The technique of cutting in the color layers, for example shellac, is comparable to the cutting into plates for engraving. Before she starts, she just does nothing for some time because ‘time in which nothing is happening is not time in which nothing happens.’ Nothing is planned or committed, just the process of editing unfolds for the artist a possible result. Consequently her work has no titles.
Another element is scratches in the color or cuts in the canvas. These cuts into the picture suggest a hand injury, while they open a second layer behind the surface of the painting. Depending on how far you are away from this work the second level of black holes appear to be in front of the surface, they seem to emerge visually before it. The open question about the material and the ambiguity of the space are elements of mystery in her work. The cuts are an expression of the topic of injury and healing, which the artists is exploring through the use of gauze – the material for bandages. Extensively applied gauze adds a different texture, which covers the cuts. In some works, she has sewn up the wounds in the canvas with a needle and thread. In other works the stitches are still visible, but the healing process is so far advanced that she says ‘the threads are already taken out.’
Bettina Hachmann‘s images take time to contemplate. Only then can the artist and the viewer be present for the secret of her work. Her painting is strongest where it offers no support for our eyes and our minds, where it leads to nothing, and goes into depth, emptying our viewpoint. ‘Nothing’ is for her the absence of any expectations, a contemplative state which her paintings aim to put the viewer in.
|2018||Gallery Flow Fine Art,
Hitdorf on the Rhine
|2017||Silent Spacious Landscape
Gallery Stötzel-Tiedt, Goslar (G)Art fair Munich,
represented by Art for Africa
|2016||Gallery Bernd Bentler Bonn (E)|
|2015||“Through the Night…”
Galery Duo, Bad Godesberg (E)
|2013||Gallery Dalype Kultur
Helnæs Gl. Præstegård, Denmark
|2012||Gallery Flow Fine Art,
Hitdorf on the RhineProject “Rondom” Marokko 2011
– Autour du Maroc
|2011||“Exhibition of Dutch and German artists, local museum Agadir and Gallery Bastion Bab Marrakech, Essaouira|
|2010||„Until now…“, Gallery Duo,
Bonn and Bad GodesbergGallery Kocken,
“New and Confidant”,
special exhibition in cabinet of the Niederrheinischen Museum, Kevelaer
|2009||„Silver Lining“, In Glaskarree,
Art Club Bad Godesberg
|2008||“Light-Shaft”, “Shaft IV”,
Industrial museum Zeche, Rheinpreußen
|2007||Gallery Schürmann, Kamp-Lintfort|
|2007||Gallery Kocken, Kevelaer (E)|
local museum Issum