Dagmar Zehnel: Nature wanderer

When she was little, Dagmar Zehnel was constantly outside, hanging around in the forests of her small hometown, Zeitz. With her friends she climbed trees, or just wandered in the woods, looking around. Decades later, she still takes strolls in the nature, but she’s not climbing trees anymore, she paints them.

In addition to being influenced by long walks outdoors, Dagmar often travels throughout Germany (especially the North) to gather mental images. She has her own perception of nature. She collects elements and reinterprets those ingredients with reflection and a lot of kindness. Dagmar told me she already sees the painting just by looking at the nature, due to her long experience as an artist. Sometimes she makes a quick sketch, or sometimes takes pictures to keep them alive. Then she comes back to her quiet and pleasant studio, located in a middle of a garden in Leipzig. She even uses this garden as material for her paintings.

images by PILOTENKUECHE or supplied by artist 

Though visually influenced by the local artistic scene, Dagmar has her own visual universe. Technique is very important to her, as she likes to amuse herself with it. The techniques she works with could look quite traditional (painting, etching), but the way she’s using them is anything but. For example, she uses acrylic, but in a way you’d usually use watercolor. In other way, she likes to use etching, but working in many layers, the way a painter does. Working with lines and structures, she superimposes different colored structures, sometimes up to 12 layers. The result is not a painting and not an etching, it just becomes one of Dagmar’s images.

Particular process 

For the PILOTENKUECHE program, she wanted to try something new. She is usually required to make specifics works (due to some exhibition or particular request), but here, she feels free to experiment in new ways. For the works shown in the first exhibition, Order Connection Order, she used pieces of woods a sculptor friend had given her 2 years ago, to create a new series of prints.

Dagmar had a very particular process for this work. She couldn’t use these woodcuts as a regular printing block because their uneven shapes would cause the paper to tear. So, she used transfer printing which allows her to create two effects at the same time. First, the entire structure of the wood was transferred onto sheets of plastic, then the plastic was used to apply it to the paper.  Since the large plastic sheets do not lay evenly on the paper, defects were created. This created an effect where two different structures could be simultaneously seen. Such a process is very important in Dagmar’s work, and the way she plays with accident and unpredictability. It is interesting to see imperfection on a representation of nature, in opposition of this latter which is, by definition, perfect.

Written by Jonas Lamoliatte

Keep up with Dagmar on her website.

Order Connection Order 

Vernissage: Sat 17 Feb 7-10 PM
Open: Sun 18, Fri 23 – Sun 25 4-8PM

Alte Handelsschule
Giesserstr 75
04229 Leipzig

Barbed-wire Ghost

Vernissage: 16 March 7-10 PM
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