Michael Van Ofen
Distanz Verlag Gmbh Llc
Over the course of almost thirty years, the painterly oeuvre of Michael van Ofen (b. 1956) has staked out an exceptional position within contemporary art that is not without its inner contradictions. Although his selection of motifs might suggest otherwise, he does not believe he is a nostalgist; to the contrary, he is quite explicitly a contemporary artist precisely because questioning the contemporary is of central interest to him. Defying the many observers who have proclaimed the end of painting, van Ofen chooses to implement his conceptual engagement with the artistic representation of the historic in portraits, still lifes, flowers, interiors, and landscapes—subjects that tend to be rare in contemporary painting. To his mind, painting a picture also means a delicate approach to the process of painting as such. A unique interplay of brushwork, the placement of color, and a particular treatment of light keep his pictures poised in a fascinating suspense between figuration and abstraction.