Mara Algehti is an amazing artist at the height of her career. She is foremost a painter of color, light and mood. She was born in 1944 in Allgäu, Algehti eventually attended the College of Fine Arts at the Stone space for painting and photography. Her interests developed and matured into figurative watercolor paintings and drawings along the lines of the Impressionists and Expressionists, followed by the Fauves. Yet it is her most recent works done in acrylic, which embody her true talent and voice. Her mature abstract works capture the elemental intensity of nature – its temperature, atmosphere and power.
Algehti has been exhibiting regularly since 1997 including venues at Old Forge, Uettligen near Bern Gallery Näijerehuus in Hersiwil b. Kriegstetten Art Expo Bern, Samba Congress in Lausanne, and Art Forum International Meisterschwanden. Her work was most recently on exhibit in November 2012 at Broadway Gallery NYC.
Sommerglut is one of her most impressive works. It burns with the intensity of the sun. In the center lies a beaming refulgence that is reminiscent of Turner. Towards the peripheries the deep oranges and umber browns create an intense visual affect; as quick, hatched lines create faint, rocky crag formations.
Other works like Wie eine Silberbarke embody the dense, dark palette of George Bellows. Mara’s piece sets the viewer in a moonlit landscape filled with deep blues, greens and flecks of orange. The mood is intense. The atmosphere is heavy. And the piece packs and emotional punch. Her capacity to convey deeply felt resonances is her claim to fame. So I had to catch up with Mara to find out more about her work.
Paul Gost: How long have you been painting and did you always know you would be an artist?
Mara Algehti: Around 3 years old, I scratched figures with a hairpin in the freshly painted walls of my nursery. They were in the style of Egyptian frescoes—the heads, I depicted in profile. Soon I got paper and crayons to spare the walls in the future. Initially, I only drew people, then later the animals and flowers found there way in.
Later in Berlin, I loved going to school because I was keenly interested in reading and writing. But drawing and painting were my favorite subjects. In my spare time, I made many sketches and small paintings, which usually expressed my longing for the mountains, where I spent the first 6 years of my childhood.
My interests were wide-ranging, I found little pleasure in literature and literary experiments; secretly I always knew that I wanted to be a painter. Although this desire for my parents still considered irresponsible, they allowed me to study painting and photography at the College of Fine Arts in Berlin until marraige. But the painting was victorious. Even though I was an avid photographer, painting was always paramount.
courtesy of the artist
PG: Tell us about your recent works. How did they come about? And what are you working on next?
MA: My most recent paintings, are above all, about nature and its changing moods. On my walks I see the light and change the colors in the landscape, which is reflected beautifully in the different seasons. Therefore, I have captured in my latest works, the cycle of the seasons. Before I venture on the canvas, a few hours of meditation are (over several days) behind me, in which I completely engage in the mood I want to convey to the viewer. Very often I also want stormy moments, as is seen for example in the painting “Northern Lights”. I cannot plan my images, they only emerge as a pulse only during the work. Sometimes I like to hear music during the painting, but it must be in the background – sanfte, melodiöse Klassik (Grieg, Chopin) oder Meditationsmusik und Gesänge der Wale und Delphine oder Klänge und Stimmen aus dem Regenwald (rainforest). But often I prefer stillness.
My goal is to paint what you cannot see and therefore cannot actually paint. I want to capture what everything, every phenomenon gives off in the world. I want the spirit, the lights behind the forms and to cause the heart to delight. In my next work, I want to present the different human temperaments in great, natural forms. I‘m already on a quest to advance my color and movement forward; the rise in the meditation of my heart.