Maria Zerres - Reading Woman (detail),1993

Maria Zerres

Germany 1961

Painting, Drawing

Maria Zerres
Maria Zerres
March 28, 2016

Playing with the use of space by accentuating white and over-painted areas that emerge out of improvisation, Maria Zerres explores the aesthetic language of figuration and abstraction. Her emotion is liberating itself throughout bold, gestural brushstrokes and bright colors. Sometimes she draws realistic and familiar depictions, but often they are just products of her imagination. Disposing of the forms, the idea of entropy became visible throughout chaotic brushstrokes. Her composition represents a bridge between abstract and figurative painting.

Zerres uses gestural brushstrokes and bright colors

Maria Zerres - Untitled (detail), 1982, photo via
Maria Zerres – Untitled (detail), 1982, photo via

Between Germany and USA

In 1981, Maria Zerres began her studies of art education at the Pedagogical University of Cologne and in 1982 moved to the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. From 1983 until 1990, she had a studio in Cologne and during the 90’s a workshop in Bad Breisig or Sinzig. Zerres was a visiting professor at the Hamburg Art Academy (Polke class). Since 1992, she has a studio in New York, and since 1999, she was working parallel in a studio in Traunreut (Germany). Maria Zerres is represented by Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Cologne, Galerie Ulysses, Wien and DASMAXIMUM, Traunreut. Her work has been exhibited in several galleries and museums and it has been sold at auctions.

Based in New York and Germany at the same time, Zerres has participated in many of Europe’s main exhibitions, including The Venice Biennale. The main characteristic of her paintings is the idea of movement towards chaos. Harmony and structure of form are in contrary with the manifestation of dynamism. Her expressive brushstrokes create a sense of homogeneity. Self-intersecting, overlapping, often brightly colored lines provide an image depth away from intentional perspective. On usually monochrome background, colors, lines and shapes meet each other creating the harmonious composition with emphasized contrast. While the color choice, as well as the implementation of the motives, occur seemingly intuitive, Zerres very successfully manages to implement symbiosis of drawing and painting and color and composition.

Maria Zerres - Dream (detail), 1999, photo via
Maria Zerres – Dream (detail), 1999, photo via

Consolidating Abstraction and Figuration

With Zerres’ paintings, forms of disfiguration and strategies of abstraction are deployed. In her works, ideas of entropy appear through chaotic brushstrokes that result in a sense of homogeneity. Inherent to both artists’ practices is a congruous representation of the idea of a movement towards chaos. Even more clear than in her paintings, her extensive graphic work evolves process in the pictorial invention. Considering color the equally important as line and form, Zerres is trying to make herself to constant change and improvement of expression. Maria Zerres is an artist whose paintings explore and consolidate the aesthetic languages of abstraction and figuration.

Maria Zerres lives and works in New York, USA and Traunreut, Germany

All images used for illustrative purpose only

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015TreesGalerie Ulysses, Wiensolo
2014BrucennialNew York Citygroup
2014Purple PatchGalerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
2014POST+A Story to TellBerlingroup
2012Pars Pro ToToGalerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
2011Metamorphoses – DylanHeiner Friedrich und Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
2009Maria ZerresGalerie Bruno Bischofberger AG, Zürichsolo
2009Ein – Fall, TraumGalerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
2008Erschöpfung selbst gemaltGalerie Ulysses, Wiensolo
2005Sandle in DialogueGalerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zürichgroup
2004Blaue Butter Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadtsolo
2004Four FacesGalerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölngroup
2002ZeitgeschehenGalerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
2001100 Years of PaintingBurj al Arab, Dubaigroup
2000Maria Zerres Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
1999GesichterGalerie Brigitte Schenkgroup
1999Schloss EdenkobenSammlung Herzog Franz von Bayern group
1999Maria ZerresGalerie Jablonka, Kölnsolo
1998 ARTISNOTFORSALE Ayn Foundation, New Yorksolo
1998Die Freude ist der Schlüssel für jedes Geheimnis Landesmuseum Oldenburg, Germanysolo
1997Weltraum Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
1996Maria Zerres Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
1996TierbilderLufthansa Hauptverwaltung, Kölngroup
1996Saxa LoquunturMünchengroup
1995Maria Zerres Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
1994Verteidigungsministerium Galerie Volker Diehl, Berlinsolo
1994Verteidigungsministerium Stauffenbergstraße Berlinsolo
1994Verteidigungsministerium Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Kölnsolo
1994Verteidigungsministerium Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Kölnsolo
1993Magic LineKunsthistorisches Institut der Universität Bonn solo
1993 Maria ZerresGalerie Daniel Buchholz, Kölnsolo
1992Gemeinschaftsprojekt Kölner GalerienDumont Kunsthallegroup
1991UnsichtbarGalerie Jablonka, Kölnsolo
1991UnknownGalerie Tony Shafrazi New York group
1990Standard GrafikGalerie Jablonka, Kölnsolo
1990Maria Zerres Galerie Rahel Lehmann, Genfsolo
1990HerbstsalonMuseum Ludwig, Kölngroup
1989Keine Ursache ohne Wirkung oder Der Balkan beginntGalerie Ulysses, Wiensolo
1988JuliaGalerie Jablonka, Kölnsolo
1987Maria ZerresGalerie Daniel Buchholz, Kölnsolo
1987Multiples Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Kölngroup
1986Maria ZerresGalerie Daniel Buchholz, Kölnsolo
1985Petersburger HängungGalerie Tanja Grunert, Kölngroup