Antonia Sellbach’s work is an exploration of colour and abstract ‘structure’. The subject matter of the work is also the mutable nature of each paintings’ production. In each painting, the history of its making is visible - the ghost-like remnants of the artist’s past decisions glow through veils of white, which are used to wash over previous layers of colour that have outlived their use over the history of the painting’s formation.
Usually constructed on a shimmering, white ground, Sellbach’s bars of fragrant colour are assembled to form an open ‘grid’, reminiscent of enclosures or architectural plots. The artist is interested in the relationship between these open ‘boxes’ – which are open, which are closed? do they contain, or are they contained? how are they interrelated?
Sellbach’s unique method of working is to rotate canvases and add to previous works, thereby forming larger canvases.
From a distance, the work appears to be hard-edge abstraction, but closer inspection reveals that a warmer, nuanced, human touch is at play; edges are revealed to be soft and imperfect; colours are discovered to be translucent, and previous colours have been overpainted with newer versions. There is abundant evidence of the artist’s change of mind/direction in the making of her work. We can see where certain colours have been modified, and where spaces have been opened up or closed off as the artist builds the structure across the picture plane.
The paintings operate as a kind of ‘thought extension’, or a game that the artist plays with logic and illogic.
Steve Cox, 2018.