Bettina Krieg | Women Three | by Mark Gisbourne 2014 | EN

By contrast the untitled drawings of Bettina Krieg have a thoroughly integrated sense of pattern and loosely associative topographical presence. This said there is often no actual sense of fixed starting point for a given drawing, no immediately asserted sense of a pre-di-rected beginning. For while the drawings have an initial feeling and emotionally decentred aspect – a rhizome – based discontinuous appearance – nonetheless each drawn and articulated interior element almost naturally enfolds into the next through the artist`s use of dense interwoven lines, which in turn relate to a clearly delineated and highly developed hatching system. In this they have a strangely organic visual presence, and sometimes lattice-like sense of pictorial-horticultural landscaping. But it is nothin like the representative use of landscape we are commonly familiar with, or, can easily pin down and visually identify, and in this respect is a use of landscape far removed from the cartographic descriptive functions traditionally associated with the origins of topographical forms of depiction. For as quickly realised Krieg`s drawings carry a welter of differentiated compositional and perceptual viewpoints, and these can at different times suggest anything from a transverse view of a series of open interlapping motifs within a contradictoryand dovetailed sense of spatial enclosure. When assimilated from another potential visual viewpoint, the viewer has a feeling that they are looking at the drawing as if from an overviewed askance or aerial perspective. In his particular spatial aspect Bettina Krieg has achieved a masterful control oft the inherent liquidity that may exist within the potential of any given line to create a sensory feeling of optical space, a fluidic linearity that she has thoroughly integrated into her accomplished vocabulary of mark making. The result is a powerfully evocative linear language uniquely her own, a language expressing the delicacy of filigree at one moment, or, through its related complementarity, the flatness of dense blocked out areas as propositional openings and/or spatial voids in the next instance. Most often working in black and white, and by using various inks, pen and pencil on paper, we find a remarkable consistency of adopted and consummate means. This being said recent examples have expanded the artist`s approach into the use of colour, but in doing so she has consistently followed a monochrome approach that retains a singular internal focus. In explaining Krieg`s works in these terms, we come to understand by inference and natural consequence, the obvious intuited ralationship and affinity she has with engraving and etching, and a diversity of printmaking techniques that are closely attuned to her extended use of drawing practice. And printing is commensurate with the further principle of pattern, repetition, and its reproduction in terms to be understood as discourse in psychological ordering and a compulsive human desire for linear forms of patterning.* I add hastily that this is not to suggest that the drawings of Krieg be considered in any respect as a form of contemporary decorative art. The opposite is in fact the case, since each drawing`s evolution (particularly in her larger scale drawings) is unpredictable at the outset, and this undermines an idea of their being pre-or-dained systems of odering in her work. On the contrary and in this particular respect, they stand as open images of pictorial discontinuity – discontinuous images that operat within the wider continuities of Bettina Krieg`s developed drawing practices.


* Ernst H. Gombrich (Sir), The Sense of Order; A Study in the Psychology of Decorative Art, London, Phaidon, 1994 (second edition)