With the exhibition Figuren+Bilder Barbara Gross Galerie honors Norbert Prangenberg, whose more than thirty-year career
as a painter, sculptor, and creator of drawings came to a premature end with his death last year. The small ceramics and
oil paintings he produced in the last years of his life comprise the centerpiece of the show. Supplementing these is a selection
of early drawings and paintings, as well as a large clay sculpture.
Prangenberg’s characteristic signature can be seen in this gathering of the different groups of works. He reacts to the material
with great open-mindedness and allows himself to be guided by the opportunities presented by the clay, watercolors, oil paints,
or pencil. The artist’s physical presence is always palpable; it can be perceived in the traces of the artist’s fingers in the oil paint,
or the imprints of his hands and knuckles in the clay.
The small ceramics are closely related to the oil paintings, and the two genres enter into a dialogue in this show. While the
distinctive surface relief of the paintings turns them into sculptural objects, the organically shaped clay figures take on the role
of painting support: small planes glazed in brilliant colors create an intriguing contrast to the muted earth tones of the open-pored
clay. The title "Figur", which Prangenberg chose for his ceramics, reinforces the impression of vitality and physicality, while
transcending pure abstraction.
A processual, intuitive work method is typical for Prangenberg. In his own words, the work only ends “whenever I have the
feeling, including in a spiritual sense, that it has a certain mass, an aura that transcends the mere thing itself."