The grace of light
On Werner Dresfeldt’s imagery
By Tom Jørgensen, Editor of Kunstavisen.
Werner Dresfeldt’s paintings can in short be characterised as abstraction inspired by nature. He does not paint nature or the landscape as seen from a 1:1 perspective, but rather as it is experienced. It should be noted that Dresfeldt uses colours and shapes taken from external reality, as opposed to pure abstraction where the idiom deliberately lacks reference to reality.
However, these formal characteristics are less important than the fact that Werner Dresfeldt is an artist for whom creating art can be compared with the constant creation and recreation of the world itself. If this sounds very romantic, then this is because Werner Dresfeldt is a very romantic artist. To Dresfeldt art is literally a question of creating new worlds on canvas or on paper. No more and no less. This is an uncompromising artistic philosophy that leaves no room for mediocrity, dishonesty or ornamental flattery. He simply pours his heart and soul into his work.
While the work of other artists who share his inflexible philosophy can often seem drab, melancholic or outright eschatological, Dresfeldt’s paintings, on the contrary, are light and optimistic. This is undoubtedly a result of his core life philosophy. If I was to set his already very musical compositions to a particular piece of music, my obvious choice would be the well-known theme from Richard Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra”. In many of Dresfeldt’s paintings we see a glimmering and colourful primordial soup that suddenly, as if by a stroke of lightening, is pierced by the substance of creation. This pictorial “Big Bang” shows the very moment when the cornerstone of life is formed out of nothingness and light penetrates the empty darkness.
In essence, this light imagery permeates Werner Dresfeldt’s art. The life-giving light infuses all aspects of his paintings, breaking down barriers, removing obstacles and veiling the cleansed landscapes with its mild sheen. The cycle of life as expressed by the changing seasons is a recurring theme in Dresfeldt’s work. There’s the crisp, clear winter where the first shoots of life can already be sensed, spring’s explosion of energy, the still days of summer and the autumnal degradation of what has been created. Again the focus is not on, as is the case in much Nordic art, pain, loss and death but rather on life’s unremitting regeneration and rebirth. It is art in C major instead of minor.
There is no doubt that Werner Dresfeldt’s paintings bring a lot of joy to very many people. This is naturally due to the fact that, technically speaking, Dresfeldt knows his stuff - but that is not the sole reason. For Dresfeldt works in such an uncompromising yet at the same time so thoroughly optimistic way that it is hard to not be infected by his enthusiasm for the abundance of impressions that colour our existence. His paintings simply stir something inside the beholder. They move and touch us, and that surely is the sign of an extraordinary artist.
Tom Jørgensen, BA in the History of Art, art writer, author etc.