Erik Barthels’ paintings ebb and flow with thinned washes of acrylic and casein paints dragged across the paper’s surface with a rubber squeegee traditionally employed for silkscreening. The physical limitations of this tool often dictate the scope of it’s mark-making, resulting in a repetition of stripes, arches and figure eights that suggest an intimate and elusive metaphor. Through collaging disparate pieces of previous paintings into his new compositions, Erik disrupts the tranquility of his curved forms with hard edged geometries that offer a structural and psychological counterpoint. See more of his latest works below.
“I work within the limitations of squeegees - there’s a scope of curves and straight lines that I work with. These lines and shapes are dependent on things like the diameter of the squeegee and the natural geometry inherent in the physicality of movements of working with the tool.”
“I’ve been experimenting with mounting paper collages on panel, combining and refining various old works into something new and surprising.”
“Sometimes I find materials in amusing or unexpected ways. Old, tubes of thickened acrylic paint make great irregular, splotchy lines, I’ve discovered, and there’s one odd shade of casein paint that makes unruly dots and streaks under the pressure of a squeegee - and there’s no other paint I’ve found that behaves like that.”