Celia Neubauer, "Satellite S041," 2016
Celia Neubauer, "Satellite S041," 2016, acrylic and oil on canvas, 48” x 40”
For the last two years, Toronto’s Celia Neubauer has been simplifying her paintings, moving toward a monochromatic palette and more basic forms. “I still see them as landscape paintings but not in the traditional sense,” she says. “I sort of edit and paint the simple forms.”
Her current work, showing this fall at Mayberry Fine Art in Winnipeg, features centrally massed forms against a midnight blue background. It’s challenging to understand them as landscapes until Neubauer describes her process, which has grown out of a longtime interest in Asian landscape painting. She is focused now on loosely geological forms based on the so-called scholar rocks found in Chinese gardens, and has eliminated greenery, reflective ponds and other traditional landscape elements. The work is also informed by her fascination with outer space and meteorites.
Her images call to mind a range of environmental processes, from the formation of clouds and other atmospheric phenomena to underwater vistas like coral reefs, or even ice and snow. She is open to such interpretations. “People can’t place what they are,” she says. “They can allude to many different things.”
Neubauer, who graduated in 1990 from the Slade School of Fine Art in London, works in oil over an acrylic background, sometimes mixing in bits of mica to create reflective glimmers. She juxtaposes spontaneous intuitive painting with more considered passages created with Chinese brushes, stencils and rollers. At times she uses printmaking techniques, such as pressing pieces of newspaper into damp paint to deposit ink residues. Photographs do not do the paintings justice – it’s difficult to capture the subtle play of light and shadow, or the work’s complex textures.
Celia Neubauer is represented by Mayberry Fine Art in Winnipeg, where her show runs Oct. 7 to Oct. 28. Her work sells for $2,400 to $9,000.