Churchgoer - 1961 (63x89cm)

Churchgoer

“Here I intentionally showed the farming person in transfiguration, in a conversion into form – really this is the theme of my painting, the way in which reality is transfigured in the pictorial and appears in a new form, in an artistic form,” commented Werner Berg.

One still feels the fresh impression that the painter took in, early in the morning on a holiday, and which he captured in a sketch: the woman is on her way to church, and the morning sun casts a bright patch of light on her face. Now, in the final rendition, the head stands alone against the sky, with the rocky mountain peaks in the background and the hillside with firs in the middleground. The image’s elements oscillate with one another. This farm woman with a headscarf is of a species not yet extinct: here the rock-like permanence of the human endures. The painting succeeds in conveying an individual and yet typical expression (“an uncannily Slovene face!”) in its simplest form: oval, arch, line, triangle. Expression is rendered as geometry. The reduction of a face to its topographic elements could also erase all individuality, leaving being only the categorical, the recognizable pattern. And yet this would also extinguish its unique expression. Precisely because the face is not configured solely as the typical representative of a particular group, it is able to represent the hardness, alertness and deep-rooted tenacity of the human being as a force of nature. The angular patch of sunlight adds an element of morning chill to the face, the solidity of the beginning and of the new beginning.

 

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