About the Artist
Artist and polymath Marcus Remus began his worldwide explorations as a young child travelling with his parents. The multilingual artist speaks many different languages and not only paints but is also a graphic designer and a children’s book author and illustrator, with a special interest in the visual achievements of Mesoamerica and Asia.
Remus has a unique way of looking at the cityscape, fully immersed in the construction of diverse pictorial space. Born in Frankfurt, Remus lived in a city built quickly after WW II, very gray and dull, and still bearing the marks of the war. The artist remembers playing in empty buildings as a child and his attraction to a modern, historic and intact city is traced to this stark aesthetic imprint.
Remus began formal studies at the prestigious highly ranked Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California (BA, Fine Art) where he studied traditional studio foundations.
At graduation, Remus searched for a different aesthetic experience and decided to journey to Honduras. During his studies in Pasadena, he had travelled all over the South West visiting sites such as Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, and other Anasazi dwellings, but it was this trip to Honduras that initiated his depth study of indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica in detail.
The artist valued the intricacy of indigenous patterns and incorporated elements of these designs in early illustrations. Remus explains: “Pattern, line, and color became more important to me than shadows and light, which is so important in Western art.” These key motifs continue to be important to the artist who also points to the influence of Japanese art and design, having spent time studying silk painting techniques at university, as well as refining his understanding of the tradition during a year long stay in Japan.
Fun Cities & Countries Series:
Working from his small nineteenth century studio in Frankfurt, Remus has become well know for his Fun Cities or travelogue series which range in size from 50 cm to 2 meters. In the work, Remus imaginatively marries the cartographies of the world of illustration, magical realism and the inversion of the geometry of futurism and anti-naturalist color of early abstraction.
There are over one hundred cityscapes, many composed of a topographic carnivalesque montage of landmarks, streets, and ancient sites. Remus’ distinctive style echoes the armature of painters Natal’ya Goncharova, and David Burlyuk. However, strong graphics, black outlines, and an illustrative style link this work to the tradition of Pop Art.
Other painterly explorations include the smaller Plumage series, a group of dark abstract paintings, which possess a depth that is both tangible and immaterial in quality. In elemental works such as Golden Conure, dark constellations of spherical shapes emerge from a shadowy dark ground. The works overall are contemplative in tone, and the use of murky color is punctuated by bursts of color such as we see in Macaw, where the subtle addition of vibrant magenta threads emerge within the dark pigment. This series evokes the creation process, the patterning of flora and fauna, and interior spaces of the living creature. This nod to the natural world is echoed in the titles such as Citron Crested, African Grey, and Lilac Crowned Amazon. Citron Crested is a dark work illuminated by an orchestrated dance of orange, whereas Lilac Crowned Amazon refracts light like an endless solar system, undulating color, and mass. All of the works have a hazy three dimensionality, the shapes appear to emerge and move within a watery plain, in an elegant if not esoteric patterning. These acrylic works maintain a sense of elusive mystery, a sense of weightlessness and motion and have an element of the mystical merged with heavy color and paint. Remus studied silk painting in university, refining his technique in Japan and this series reflects the meditative purity of this genre. The traditions of 20th century abstraction are also present, particularly the unidentifiable biomorphic forms, immersion in paint, color, the lack of pictorial language and the use of a gouache like surfacing.
The artist has a fondness for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, expressing admiration for the never-ending element of discovery in Bosch’s narrative pictures. For his part, Remus’ cinematic depiction of the metropolis is thoroughly modernist and includes the dynamic centrifugal painting California. As well, in the work Spain, we see a pictorial language that is forever shifting, simultaneously opaque and infused with light, distorted perspectives, architectonic shapes, and an emphasis on the horizontal. Remus’ compositions are a contemporary Pop Art-informed response to travel, and the impression of other cultures and places. The oeuvre is also connected to the modernist tradition of painting cityscapes including the key work of the early twentieth century German painter Ludwig Meidner and Ernst Kirchner.
Bright colors cascade in a Futurist staccato in Frankfurt Green 2, a tableaux that acts as vortex, light simultaneously nocturnal and light. This phosphorescent use of color is also informed by time spent in Latin America where the artist studied art and indigenous visual culture, an influence also echoed in the uniquely geometric and three dimensionality of patterning that Remus plots out in his work.
In addition to media interviews and features, Remus has exhibited widely. Solo shows have been held at the Mexican Consulate General, Frankfurt, 2014; Pop-Art Gallery The Dream Factory, Frankfurt, 2014; The Frankfurt Public Library, 2013; Gallery Kunst-Etage, Gelnhausen, 2012. Simon's Gallery, Frankfurt, 2011; Kunst-Etage/Rahmenwerkstatt Hartmann, 2010; Sipology Art Gallery, Long Beach, CA, 2009; Gallery Krüger, Rödermark, 2008, Gallery Das Atelier, Schwetzingen, 2006; Gallery an der Zitadelle, Jülich, 2005; Frankfurt Botanical Garden, Palmengarten, Frankfurt, 2003; Gallery Freunde Frankfurts, Frankfurt 2002; Headquaters of newspaper Frankfurter Neue Presse, Frankfurt, 1999.
As well, the artist has also participated in numerous group shows including The Hive, Los Angeles; The Brewery Artwalk, Los Angeles; The Spanish Cultural Institute, Instituto Cervantes, Frankfurt; Galerie an der Zitadelle, Juelich; Gallery Zitadelle, Juelich, Germany; Gallery Guntermann, Dusseldorf, Germany. As well, Remus has participated in art fairs such as Art Fair Europe, Bad Salzufflen, Germany, 2009.
Remus’ work is found in many private collections allover the world including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela.
Work is also available at various galleries in Germany such as: Galerie an der Zitadelle, Jülich; Galerie Art & Bijou, Cologne; Galerie Das Atelier, Bensheim and Schwetzingen; Galerie Dittman, Bergisch Gladbach; Galerie Gärtner, Groß-Gerau; Galerie Guntermann, Düsseldorf; Galerie Stilo, Cologne; Galerie Wehr, Pulheim; Kunsthandlung in der Marktstrasse, Erfurt; Pop-Art Gallery, The Dream Factory, Frankfurt; Rahmengalerie, Langen; Rahmenwerkstatt & Kunst-Etage Hartmann, Gelnhausen.