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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tilo Uischner

Marius, Tilo Uischner
Not just poor drawing,
but poor marquetry too.
One of the art forms I admire most is that of marquetry. It not only demands the eye of an artist, but also the patience of a saint, and the dexterity of a Swiss watchmaker. However, marquetry does have it's limitations. To a great extent, such artists are at the mercy of a massive hunk of organic plant life sometimes centuries older than they are. Then there's the element of happenstance in finding just the right grain and coloration to compliment the intended design. This art form is great for abstract designs, tightly drawn geometric designs even landscapes and still-lifes. What it is not very well adapted for is portraiture. Portraiture being the most difficult and demanding type of painting, it's little wonder marquetry does not lend itself well to creating a recognizable face. All to often, such attempts end up similar to Diana (above, right). Only a precious few marquetry artist even try, and most who do fail...sometime miserably.

Tilo Uischner
Tilo Uischner knows both the strengths of marquetry as well as its limitations. He's also an excel-lent portrait artist. Most of all he knows how far to "push" marquet-ry and then flawlessly switches to acrylics in completing his works, mostly men, women, and quite a number of children. Moreover, he is not hung up on the traditional compositions and style of his Ger-man forbearers. Perhaps most of all, as he paints, he knows when to stop--when to let the wood dominate his photo-based render-ings. He never forgets that it's the gentle presence of the wood which sets his work apart from hundreds of equally adept Ger-man portrait painters.

Can you tell where the wood stops and the paint begins with each one?
Tilo Uischner was born in born in Riesa, Elbe, Saxony (east-central Germany), in 1969. He felt the need to paint at an early age then followed different ways till he became a full time artist. He began drawing at an early age and is mostly self-taught. His family moved to Berlin in 1989 just months before the wall came down. There Uischner studied Economics at Humboldt University. He earned his Diploma in 1995 and started working for a government agency. However, in 2000 he changed jobs to became a creative consultant for event creation. Getting in contact with the fascinating technique of marquetry happened by coincidence almost as he taught himself the technical details by reading books and copying old masters, trusting in trial and error. Today, he combines the traditional craftsmanship of marquetry with contemporary acrylic painting attempting to blur the line between wood and paint.

Usually, only the flesh tones and features are painted.
Uischner focuses intently on his subjects as he tries to portray them in a manner that reveals the truth as to who they are and what they have experienced. He searches for moments of honesty, situations of importance which provoke questions, or answers to all kinds of interpretations he wants to conserve and present in a neutral and subtle manner. Very often these stories are about himself as much as his subjects. Mostly he avoids titles or symbols which explain too much or direct the viewer to a certain interpretation. Always Tilo Uischner searches for ambivalent facial expressions or circumstances which prevent the possibility of a clear or absolutely objective explanation.

I would have been tempted to title Wolf Girl:
"What? You don't like Sushi?"
Tilo Uischner loves to sing the praises of wood: "I'm always asked why I have chosen to work with wood. I can only say that I love this material for so many reasons. It brings its own story into the picture; it reveals its character while you work with it; and it keeps its final secret till the moment you apply the first coat of lacquer. For ages wood has surrounded people to create homes, warmth, or to decorate. I think it is almost exclusively seen as something very positive, and in my pictures it constitutes an inviting familiarity, although one might find something unexpected behind trusted facades."

Tilo Uischner seems to have a great empathy for boys, perhaps because he once was one.

I'll be Back (my title), Tilo Uischner


1 comment:

  1. It's challenging to see the paintings of the males in this particular blog post--they're blurry. The females are clear.

    I'd never heard of marquetry and would like to attempt it. Thank you!