|View from the Window
(Zürichsee-Zeitung 28 November 1998)
The painter Walter Ehrismann, often imprisoned in inner space because of his own life situation, takes the outer reality as seen through the window as genuine, something that he connects with memories and reshapes in his paintings. The starting point is always the same four aquatint prints. As quadrant structures they are windows - and also the picture frame - the painting can begin. The art of Walter Ehrismann comes alive through its colours.
Yellow is Walter Ehrismann's favourite colour, for him it has same importance as light, which the artist translates in different nuances. He loves his true-pigment colours, synthetically manufactured paints are anathema to him. Similar to his fascination with the wide range of possibilities offered by the intaglio process, so does he also love to mix his palette as part of his work process. For his window paintings, he chooses six colours that together with three different white tones constitute a harmony. Then, whether Ehrismann always takes the same aquatint pages with the black tone of the copper print as the starting point of his prints or not, it is finally the remarkable colourfulness of the paint with its harmonic lines, forms and surfaces that gives these new paintings their basic expression.
At 20 years old, the young man from Chur started a training in art. After attending a school for design (to become a drawing teacher), he began to learn the various printing techniques from the ground up. For eight years he put in a lot of time at the copper print atelier of Peter Kneubühler in Zurich. He had always wanted to master the technique of printmaking, especially valuing the element of surprise in the results of an etching, a dry point or aquatint.
A Stubborn Painter
The first solo exhibition of the now 55 year old was in 1972 in Lucerne. In 1976, he participated in a group exhibition at the Zurich Kunsthaus, which has since acquired one of his works. The number of sales to the city and State of Zurich, as well as many Zurich communities is impressive. In the 1980s the painter secured his place in history by being included in two directories of Swiss artists published by the Swiss Institute for Art Research, which has very stiff entry criteria. Regular commissions for well-known foundations are no rare thing in the life of Walter Ehrismann. His atelier is also in Urdorf, "where I stubbornly spend each afternoon".
Body Fragments and Calligraphy
There the artist also sits in front of his window and looks out - as well as in, into himself. Ehrismann works quietly and in inward concentration. "Yes, in painting there is no place for melancholy," he states decidedly. People interest him. Fragments of a body line or a lost profile, the hint of an intimate place, whether man or woman, leaves fantasy the space it needs. A blue form pulls itself diagonally across the painting. Besides, the observer sees with other eyes and indeed sees only those parts of the window that move him.
The Oetwil exhibition offers still another high point. Edition Howeg has published Volume VIII of its "Text und Bild" series: Fifteen Love Poems written by the American Pansy Maurer Alvarez, who lives in Paris, and illustrated by Walter Ehrismann. The original brush and ink drawings can be seen at the Gallery Jeanette Catrina. They are unique as a meditative aesthetic and reminiscent of far-eastern calligraphy. The economically drawn brush strokes gain harmony through a composition without frills and, when not in dialogue, stand in a gripping tension to the poems.