born in Uppsala, Sweden

solo exhibitions

Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg, Malerei und Monotypie, Galerie Chang-Schiebe, Ulm

Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg, Malerei, Galerie Metz, München

Konkrete Farbmalerei, Kunstforum soziale Skulptur, München

Farbmalerei, Orangerie, Englischer Garten, München

Farbmalerei, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München [[K]] Farbmalerei, HypoVereinsbank, Ulm

Auflösung konkret, Halle 50, München

Farbe konkret, Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln

Färg, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München [[K]]

Färg II, Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln [[K]] Färg III, Galerie Wesner, Konstanz [[K]]

In Touch, Doppelausstellung mit Werken des Bildhauers Stephan Marienfeld, Galerie Floss & Schultz, Köln [[K]]

Color and Structure, Doppelausstellung mit Reiner Seliger, Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln Form & Color, Doppelausstellung mit Werken des Bildhauers René Dantes, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München Raum und Farbe, Doppelausstellung mit Werken des Bildhauers Hermann Rosa (1911–1981), BorrettyContemporaryArt, München

Quando il colore ha la dimensione del pensiero ed emoziona, Five Gallery, Lugano, Schweiz [[K]]

Farbfindungen, Kunstraum Detmold, Detmold [[K]]

group exhibitions (selection)

11. Aichacher Kunstpreisausstellung, Kunstverein Aichach, Aichach
Große Kunstausstellung 2004, Haus der Kunst, München [[K]]

12. Aichacher Kunstpreisausstellung, Kunstverein Aichach, Aichach
all about … domagk, whiteBox, Kultfabrik, München
Jahresausstellung 2005, Kunstverein Ebersberg, Ebersberg [[K]]
Simultan – Kunst und Schach, Kunstverein Ebersberg, Ebersberg [[K]]

13. Aichacher Kunstpreisausstellung, Kunstverein Aichach, Aichach
Domagkateliers 2006, DOKU e.V., Dachgalerie Haus 49, München
Jahresausstellung 2006, Kunstverein Ebersberg, Ebersberg [[K]]

Domagkateliers 2007, DOKU e.V., Dachgalerie Haus 49, München [[K]]
Große Kunstausstellung NRW, Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf [[K]]
Jahresausstellung 2007, Kunstverein Ebersberg, Ebersberg [[K]]
SchauRaum, Kultursommer am Ackermannbogen, München

15. Aichacher Kunstpreisausstellung, Kunstverein Aichach, Aichach
Domagkateliers 2008, DOKU e.V., Dachgalerie Haus 49, München
Jahresausstellung 2008, Kunstverein Ebersberg, Ebersberg [[K]]

Das kleine Format, Kunstverein Aichach, Köglturm, Aichach
Domagkateliers 2009, DOKU e.V., Dachgalerie Haus 49, München [[K]]
Jahresausstellung 2009, Kunstverein Ebersberg, Ebersberg [[K]]

apARTment, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München

11×11, Galerie Filser & Gräf, ApArtment, München
Kunstgaben, Halle 50, München
SWEA International, Galleri Art On, Kungsbacka, Sweden

Grünes Leuchten, Halle 50, München
Less is more, Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln

Jahresausstellung 2013, Kunstverein Ebersberg, Ebersberg [[K]]
Konkret und Expressiv, Galerie Thomas Punzmann, Frankfurt a.M.
unARTig, Halle 50, München

Painting Black, The Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Foundation Art Gallery, New York, USA
Reductive Art, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München
Zwischenzeit, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München

Accrochage, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München
Crossover, Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
Domestic Space 4 | PaperEdition, Zweigstelle Berlin, Berlin
Doppelpass. 6×2 Positionen, Halle 50, München
First View, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München
Jahresausstellung 2015, Kunstverein Ebersberg, Ebersberg [[K]]
Paper & Wood, Halle 50, München
small & mighty, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München

H5021K, Halle 50, München
Doppelpass. 6×2 Positionen – Rückspiel, Galerie Prisma, Südtiroler Künstlerbund, Bozen, Italien

Domestic Space | Christmas Edition, Zweigstelle Berlin @ Neue Galerie Landshut
Flashback, Galerie Filser & Gräf, München
Kunst heilt Medizin – Zehn Werke, Katholisch-Theologische Fakultät der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Österreich
Objects of desire 2017, Halle 50, München
Ricerche tedesche, Fabula Fine Art, Ferrara, Italien

Domestic Space | Munich Edition, Zweigstelle Berlin @ Galerie PunktPunktKommaKunst, München
Domestic Space | Schloss Homburg Edition, Zweigstelle Berlin @ Schloss Homburg, Triefenstein
Neue Wege_Neue Gruppe, Landkreisgalerie auf Schloss Neuburg, Salzweg
Whiteout, Neue Gruppe e.V., Halle 50, München
Wunderkammer, Halle 50, München

art fairs

Tease Art Fair, Köln, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München

ART.FAIR 2012, Köln, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München
art KARLSRUHE, Karlsruhe, mit Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
Cologne Paper Art, Köln, mit Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
Kunst 12 Zürich, Zürich, mit Galerie Wesner, Konstanz

ART.FAIR 2013, Köln, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München, und Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
art KARLSRUHE, Karlsruhe, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München, und Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
Cologne Paper Art, Köln, mit Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
Kunst 13 Zürich, Zürich, mit Galerie Wesner, Konstanz

ART.FAIR 2014, Köln, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München, und Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
art KARLSRUHE, Karlsruhe, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München, und Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
Kunst 14 Zürich, Zürich, mit Galerie Wesner, Konstanz

Art Bodensee, Dornbirn, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München
art KARLSRUHE, Karlsruhe, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München
POSITIONS BERLIN Art Fair, Berlin, mit Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln

ART.FAIR 2016, Köln, mit Five Gallery, Lugano
art KARLSRUHE, Karlsruhe, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München, und Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
POSITIONS BERLIN Art Fair, Berlin, mit Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln

art KARLSRUHE, Karlsruhe, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München, Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln, und Five Gallery, Lugano
Paper Positions Munich, München, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München
POSITIONS BERLIN Art Fair, Berlin, mit Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln
WopArt Fair, Lugano, mit Five Gallery, Lugano

art KARLSRUHE, Karlsruhe, mit Galerie Filser & Gräf, München, Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln, und Five Gallery, Lugano
POSITIONS BERLIN Art Fair, Berlin, mit Galerie Ulf Larsson, Köln


The life of colors
by David Rhodes, New York, USA, 2018

Color cannot stand alone; it cannot dispense with boundaries of some kind.

Color is foundational for Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg—its importance is central to her process of painting—it is a substance both as substantial and as fleeting as emotion or thought. The interior and external world of experience is for Wallenstal-Schoenberg impossible to contemplate without it. Color is also a concrete reality, physically manifest in painting as paint itself, a surface available to sight and touch like much of the world around us. Swiss theorist, teacher and artist Johannes Itten (1888-1967), was a key member of the Weimar Bauhaus between 1919 and 1922. Whilst there he theorized seven types of contrast in the perception of color: hue, value, temperature, complimentary, simultaneous, saturation and extension. The contrasts of simultaneity are derived from Chevreuil and extension from Goethe’s theory of color. Itten also saw his color theory as a development of artist and theorist Adolf Hölzel’s color wheel. Hölzel was himself influenced by both Wilhelm von Bezold’s and Goethe’s Theories of color. Together with an interest in The Golden Section this led him toward abstraction. Wallenstal-Schoenberg, is very aware of this history and science of color—it is key to understanding the context for her technical approach to color that underlies the intuitive exploration of color in painting.

Artists that are of particular interest to Wallenstål-Schoenberg include, Joan Mitchell, Barnet Newman, E.W. Nay, Jerry Zeniuk and Sean Scully —it is clear why these painters are of interest to her, from the importance of color and the rendering of shape to the surface facture of physically present, applied paint. The monochromatists Phil Sims and Marcia Hafif can also be sited as artists of interest, as it is their intense commitment to carefully realized specific color. It is significant that monochrome painting per se does not interest Wallenstall-Schoenberg, one color needs another to make a relationship, one color alone would seem “lost” with out at least one more color with which to become related, and to give some “orientation.”

After working with oil since 1995 Wallenstål-Schoenberg changed to acrylic after moving from Ulm—where her teacher was Klemens Etz and she had her first solo exhibition in 1998—to Munich in 1999 when she took a break from painting. From 2003, when Wallenstal-Schoenberg resumed studio work she also became acquainted with Jerry Zaniuk, then a professor at the Academy of Art. Initially the acrylic—Lascaux and pigments—was applied to wood, and only later to canvas, the paint built up in layers to achieve a more substantial surface. Eventually around 2006-2007 a return to oils occurred because of the desire to use once again the qualities available with this medium.

Just a few different colors were bought—a practice Wallenstål-Schoenberg continues today—in the tube, from the manufacturer Schmike-Norma. This is because the color seen in the paintings result from careful and extensive mixing, both on the pallet—where colors are modified individually and in comparison with each other—and this can continue on the canvas itself. Sometimes a new painting begins with color from a completed painting, other colors added to the pallet as the new painting is developed. This use of a color as found color as random and not preconceived is freeing—a fresh, immediate inspiration liberated from deliberation. The paintings are built in layers, something learnt from her early use of watercolor, a desire to retain the spontaneity and aliveness of watercolor is still evident in the later acrylic and the oil paintings. A comparison can be made with Cezanne and his technique, also informed by the experience of painting with watercolor. Also, Wallenstål-Schoenberg’ places her pallet 4 or 5 meters away from the painting that she is working on, thus affording her a view of the work in progress from distance every time a new color is added, in this way the state of the painting at any given moment can be appreciated visually away from the manual application of paint. The pallets are in themselves a fascinating account of thinking with color.

Unlike for example, Paul Klee, Wallenstål-Schoenberg does not have a theory of spiritual meaning for formal relationships in pictorial art. Rather, there is openness to the different meanings a viewer finds, or various feelings registered in encountering any of her paintings—this reception is analogous to the experience of music—it is direct, she has even used the expression “color sound” in describing the affect of her paintings. As in music, rhythm is also important, as the compositional parts interact across the surface of the painting. The experience does not relying on art history or formal explanation of painting. Everyone is free to react in his or her own way, as even the theoretically astute Joseph Albers acknowledged when he said, “Color is the most relative medium in art.” Color is the most fugitive of visual elements, the most subjective aspect of perception—difficult to define, and contain—always sensitive to an externally fluctuating physical environment as much as an interior psychological one. Avoided is the reductive, programmatic restriction of Max Bill’s “konkrete kunst,” for an intuitive searching that accepts the rough edges of painted shape that reveals the directions and choices made by the artist and left visible, incorporated, and essential to the finished painting.

A small watercolor made at Monecantini, Italy in 1995 illustrates well the origins of Wallenstål-Schoenberg’s process. This painting of a stand of trees comprises segments of color overlapping and layering to create other colors, and the composition ends before what would be the artificial cut off of the papers edge. Consequently, the rough edges formed allow a view of the previous colors as they build up, much like the edges of color shape in the artist’s later works. This process brings to mind Cezanne’s. The desire for an intuitive and direct construction that is a characteristic of watercolor is retained in oil painting. Color is built in layers, shapes meet and are modified by the presence of other shapes, as are the colors themselves simultaneously.

Paintings in several parts viewed together as with Untitled Polyptich (2005) are reoccurring in Wallenstål-Schoenberg’s oeuvre. This particular painting is made with acrylic on wood panels. It recalls Matisse’s stain glass windows for the Chapel in Vance. Segments run rhythmically and vertically, corresponding laterally in syncopation. Whereas Matisse utilizes the color and light of the Mediterranean, Wallenstål-Schoenberg’s light is greyed much as northern light tends to be, less contrast and shadow, colors are closer toned altogether. The five panels are positioned in two groups, a larger space between the panels on the left (two) and on the right (three) makes the work asymmetrical, asymmetry occurring regularly in many other works. Cycle Colorsound (2014) represents another thread, one of several returned to over the years. Here, there are also repeated shapes that are never identical, like the rectangular sections in Untitled Polyptich they are evolved from one layer of paint to the next, one color to the next, everything in the painting is in relation to and responsive to everything else. The shapes appear in a dynamic balance, tumbling or hovering or both. Several colors are revisited, blue, orange, red and green, though the color is not each time the same—it is like listening to different sections of a piece of music as they are repeated in variation. At the edge of the shapes other colors are always visible, and the off-white of the ground is also painted with active strokes of a pallet knife so that no part of the surface of the canvas is neutral.

Cycle As black as it gets (2018) is yet another painting from a group of works, this time concerned predominantly with the color black and made with oil on linen. The shapes relate to those in the Colorsound series—here in this horizontal painting two sets of three shapes balance across the canvas, other colors appearing from under the final layer at their edges. Untitled (2017) isolates a single blue uneven disc, at its edges an orange visible. It is surrounded by an off-white color that at its outer edge reaches the rectangle of the canvas unevenly, also revealing an orange underneath. The disc shape does not reach the canvas’ edge it sits tending toward an oval shape, implying it, but not becoming it. Recent paintings from 2017/2018 have a variety of gestural pallet knifed marks, accumulating into or obscuring shape, sometimes more all over in composition other times more relational. This more gestural way of making a painting continued since 2007 at the same time as the shape based compositions, although they were not exhibited until around 2016. These paintings are also very connected to the earlier watercolor paintings. Untitled (2018is a diptych, oil paint knifed across the surface, the under painting still visible and raw linen is unpainted toward the painting’s edge. Here, the painting has all the qualities of the previous paintings individual shapes, but now, the canvas rectangle itself is the shape. The painting comprises two parts—the left a square, the right a rectangle) offers different color and light across the space that divides them, the shapes in the painting becoming actual, concrete shapes. It is a sign of Wallenstål-Schoenberg’s ongoing exploration of color and her desire to follow emotion and intuition as well as intellect when finding the next composition or color combination, there is no indication that the artist is close to ending her exploration as alternatives and new manifestations continue to appear and surprise.


Dr. Barbara Rollmann-Borretty
December 2008

The new oil paintings of Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg exist of relations. The first what the viewer perceives are irregular round forms. Their position on the canvas reveals that they are parts of a frame of reference. In the second look it becomes clear that her colours also stick together comparatively. And thus this continues, the deeper one gets into such a painting. It is with the next look about the edges in which the round forms touch, further it is the mixing proportion of the tones, the kind of the multi-layered order which puts everything with each other in respect. Thus it is inconceivable to separate an element from one of these paintings – like a spiral the relation of the parts turns to each other and to the whole on and on. It is the being of these works.

Basically Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg is an artist with a traditional-conservative beginning. She leaves nothing to the chance, every hand line in the process is well-considered and tested. However, the final result is exactly the opposite: a weightless and cheerful painting which is open for any kind of the communication. One does not look at the technical expenditure, the picturesque draught to her. One feels it only. In this sense also the big impressionists worked, a Monet or a Cézanne worked. It was worth the subjective appearance, assistance of the painting technology and a strong artist's will which had to struggle before more than one century for every innovation to explain. If we have a look at a still life with apples of Cézanne, and hold besides one of the pictures of this contemporary artist, the common characteristic becomes clear fast: while themselves the forms simplify, the painting becomes more intensive. Already during her concrete phase of the early years the still life in which this reduction of the forms is to be felt seems with the painter.

However, admittedly, her work is derived not without circumlocutions of the impressionism. This style epoch belongs to our cultural heir like the modern age which she has prepared. And the modern age is still the model for many art and mind currents till this day again: There has been a more fertile layout in the history of the art quite seldom. Therefore, Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg with good right appeals to a teacher of the modern age, on Johannes Itten and his theory of the colour contrasts. After this apprenticeship the complementary colours and simultaneous colours are mixed in her pictures and are applied. These relations bring tension and excitement in the paintings, they demonstrate powerfully and harmoniously. The increase of the visual charms is one for the viewer indiscernible, but effective method.

The body of thought of this Bauhaus apprenticeship found his correspondence in the concrete art and in the colour field painting. Also Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg goes this way. In her early concrete pictures tending to the abstraction he is already marked. In the first groundless works she deals with the geometrical subdivision of the surface which it transfers on serial wall objects. However, the questions of the painting occupy them soon stronger than the sculptural and konzeptuellen aspects of the works. She begins, in her pictures colour surfaces each other to placed and it the hard edges of the geometrical objects surrenders in favour of a softer contour. Thus the whole version of the paintings of the sharp edged perfection of the geometry develops to a picturesque draught in which the colour effect is in the foreground. Subsequently the artist experiments with her colour field painting with both: to the soft courses and lasierten coats of paint, in another series again with the homogeneous surfaces hard edge painting. Always is in the foreground for them, nevertheless: the behaviour of the colour fields to each other, the optimum effect of the colour contrasts. At last with this programme presecuted with big seriousness she positions herself to the big questions colourfield painting which understood once form and colour as radical basic conditions. In a logical step Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg about two years ago to the oil painting. With the acrylic colours she came to the borders of that what it could reach in the painting. Thus the sight of the new pictures offers an enlarged dimension: the canvas breathes, the fields applied with the narrow spatula and forms look organic. Already before the irregularly round surfaces have developed from the homogeneous colour fields the hard edge paintings, as well as a square which is cut on the corners. With the oil paintings, nevertheless, these are differentiated‚ rounds’ almost plastically, her appearance between one‚ inner life’ and one‚ skin’. Their edges are strengthened strikingly, here the oil paint becomes a matter. The edges perform the demarcation of the form outwardly, however, also, with the touch points with others, the connection, possible melting with them. Particularly and equally the bases of these pictures are treated: these are tender, nearly clear mixtures of very much bright and gentle colour values. They resemble the Inkarnat with which big masters like Rubens, Renoir or today Lucien Freud painted the bodies of her models. Thus these funds offer the ideal space for the picture events, support his organic aspect. One can understand the new paintings as an artistic position which is on the search for the absolute painting. Nevertheless, in her being they are also symbolic: they show communication and division, equality and differentiation – basic concepts of all living.

Dr. Barbara Rollmann-Borretty, December 2008
Translation: Sue Cubit

  • 18. Nov 13. Dec
    PAINTING BLACK The Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Art Gallery, New York
  • 29. Mar 03. May
    Reductive Art Filser & Gräf, München