Based in Germany, artist Ulrike Arnold travels the world to create abstract site-specific works on canvas using pigments plucked directly from the earth. This unique "regional art", which Arnold calls Earth Painting, emerges from direct experience getting to know the landscape and provides the inspiration and substance of her work.
She begins by studying the local geology; walking the land, touching the stones, taking in the contours, gaining an overall feel of the space and its history. She then pulls samples such as rocks and soil, pounds them into a fine dust, sometimes mixing it with wax or oils, then uses her hands to transfer that information to her canvas.
The end results are large, colorful, gritty visual histories of Armenia, Africa, India and the southwestern United States, to list a few.
"What fascinates me is how the earth, in the various forms of its landscape and stones, assumes different material and color qualities, how the variegated layers tell stories about the creation of the earth, about the conditions under which people live in different parts of the earth, as well as the interplay between climatic zones and vegetation. The quality of the earth determines the quality of the landscape... In mysticism too and among all peoples, the earth is assigned a particular significance: earth is primary materials, conveyor of energy; earth means beginning and end."
Recently, Arnold expanded her "Earth" paintings to include works made from the fragments of five meteorites, gifts from a scientist-friend. Transformed into mysterious blots, their dark spattered remains graphically reflect the impact of far away worlds while reminding us of the preciousness of our own.
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