Fabian Treiber (b. 1986) works within the frame of abstraction, yet important elements of figurative art coexist in his artworks. Moving along a logic of shifting boundaries, between the abstract and the figurative world, the visual depictions that Treiber uses derive from the everyday image décor. Uniting the two art forms would be considered to be a challenge. But creating a balance does not seem necessary. His visual ambivalence still stands well and provides a more distinctive character as well as a greater quality by being flexible and open to stimulate more than one interpretations.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Seemingly unfinished compositions in Treiber’s fragmented spaces look like asking for further painting work to achieve a final visual representation. However, this is not required. The “undeveloped” paintings remain alive and equally coexist next to the complete compositions. These unfinished details can be read as an act to describe the journey of Treiber’s art process. For him, the importance of the process really does matter as he aims to tell a story within the strict boundaries of his canvas. In general, his canvases provide the unique space for these processes to take place, to project them and to establish new ones. Furthermore, the artist invites the visitor to intellectually fill the gaps using his/her mind to suggest more interpretations. By ignoring the end artwork result, the artist raises the potential variety of explanations regarding his visual composition. In order to issue the challenge, Treiber lays down the gauntlet to his art encounters and presents a creative interplay of fierce imagination.
The canvas operates as a fertile and autonomous space for Treiber. Colourful palettes and manifold pictorial depictions build a state of freedom in their own right. The German artist employs dynamic gestures of abstraction to delineate the artistic arrangements on his canvas deconstructing the shape and lines of his depicted objects. Due to an underlying sense of an illustrative simplicity, almost diagrammatic, Treiber’s codes of communication subsume deeper functions. Some of his artworks can be seen as contemporary still-life paintings that highlight his particular language of sketchy-looking graphic representations.
From another point of view, the importance of fragmentary arrangements is also an additional visual information in his vocabulary introducing a graphic notion of transparency. Attempting to explore the space in which Treiber’s paints, the visual effect of transparency works effectively as it blurs the lines between abstraction and figuration. Probably, that visual effect seems to be a critical point in the artist’s technique. Along with a variety of pale colour use and mixture on canvas, the line’s designing process consist the main core of Treiber’s artistry, irrespective if it represents a vase, an apple or another domestic landscape; whether abstract or not.
Born in Ludwigsburg, Treiber lives and works in Stuttgart, Germany. Along with important awards, grants and scholarships, such as the Silkscreen Grant from the Lepsien Art Foundation in 2017 and the Prize for Graphics of the Walter Stohrer Foundation in 2014, his artworks have been exhibited internationally in many art galleries in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, France and beyond.
In his interview with ArtVerge, Treiber shares his approach on art issues and provides some interesting answers about his daily life. Check it out!
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Fabian Treiber: My work is very process-based, so the process, in general, is somehow the main topic of my entire work. I define it often as a kind of dialogue between me and the painting, which starts often with a first sketch on a raw canvas. From this point on I am, you could say, circling around some terms or perceptions, which I try to transfer directly onto the canvas. In the course of this, I am questioning a large scale of different materials. Layer by layer, I am focused on losing my own pictorial vocabulary which gave me the first impetus and starts to find shapes, which are getting more and more autonomous. For me, it is more a way of finding pictures than to create them.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
FT: Moving, Disturbing, Emotional.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
FT: There are many of course, and it slightly changes from time to time, but in general I am a big fan of Pierre Bonnard, David Hockney and El Greco. What I discovered this year for me when I had the chance to visit a wonderful show, was Michael Berryhill.
View this post on Instagram
Very looking forward to my silkscreen grant @lepsien_art_foundation. During the next year I'll work on an edition of several prints. Thanks a lot for this opportunity ✊🏻 And I hope to see some of you at the opening of my show in cologne, oct 6 @popsixtyeight 🦅 . . . . #grant #lepsienartfoundation #studio #wip #painting #contemporarypainting #contemporaryart #silkscreen #art #fabiantreiber #artist
AV: When was the latest video you watched on social media and had an impact on your mood? Which one?
FT: Oh, I can’t remember when. I think it was the trailer for the new Blade Runner movie, which appeared in my feed and I felt so curious. I like this kind of dystopian world, especially when the music has a direct impact on the things you see.
AV: Creating a new painting is a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
FT: Yeah, it does – I wish I could say no, but my friends would tell you probably other stories about. I think over the years creating artworks it is also questioning and getting to know yourself better or at least you get proof of things you’ve suspected concerning yourself. I am quite serious and very focused when it comes to work, and also quite comfortable to be alone. Probably these are things, that are good for an artist working in his studio, but it is also sometimes a curse in daily life. I had days in which, the only person I talked to, was the cashier in the supermarket, these days always seem like very weird ones. And of course, there is this trembling inside you, when you’re on a new artwork, especially when there is an upcoming show and you’re trying to figure out a kind of choreography between your recent works. These days, I am sometimes apathetic or buried in thoughts.
AV: How do you know when a painting is finished?
FT: When there’s nothing left to do. As I said, in my case, it is a kind of dialogue and if the painting is slightly not questioning me anymore, it is probably close to finish. Generally, I try to keep them for many days around me, to be sure.
View this post on Instagram
Detail. If you're visiting Art.Karlsruhe, stop by at Filser&Gräf, Munich. Get in touch with Cico and Lilly for further information about my work. #artkarlsruhe2017 #gallery #contemporary #painting #contemporarypainting #abstraction #artwork #art #arts #fabiantreiber #artist