Searching for Meaning Amongst the Colours

Searching for Meaning Amongst the Colours

Theo Altenberg’s paintings have been entrancing me for some time now. I find myself staring at them over and over. Each time I see something different, and various shapes and forms emerge from the vibrant oil colours. Each time the meaning behind his work seems more and more elusive – like images are hidden behind each other on a richly layered canvas of competing thoughts.

Theo Altenberg, oil on cardboard, 2010, no.17.

 

Theo Altenberg, oil on cardboard, 2010, no.21.

 

Some of his images, like the one above, have geometric shapes hidden behind the smears of oil paint. What’s behind these colourful smears, exactly? Are the shapes part of some larger image? The different layers that emerge, but that are still hidden from view, allow the viewer to draw his/her own meaning from the work.

 

Theo Altenberg, oil on cardboard, 2009, no.15.

 

Theo Altenberg, oil painting, 2010, no.08.

 

Theo Altenberg, oil painting, 2012, no.09.

 

Theo Altenberg, oil painting, 2012, no.05.

 

There is something dreamy about the way he seemingly mixes the colours at random to create his beautifully composed pieces. Viewing them almost feels like the memory of a dream that you can’t quite remember. When you wake up with no specific memories of what you dreamt about, but simply the feeling that you experienced something beautiful.

 

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