» Anemoia II «
This is subpage for further information on the work Anemoia II from the Anemoia series, which debuted as the featured work for march in the LfA Bavaria art-calender in 2021.
Below you will see a commenatry on Anemoia II by art journalist Jochen Meister, which was published along the release of the calender. Further there is a recorded interview, in which I personally speak about the work and my motivation behind it.
A gas station is not the most suitable place to stay for long, instead one arrives and departs. It is no space to linger. Leon Wachtler chooses not to implement any people in his motif. He simply presents a structure, more or less schematic. Architecture, gas pump, garbage can, even the scenery seems reduced to its basic shapes. It is no particular gas station, instead rather a general idea of it. This allows us to somehow have a sense of familiarity towards it. Almost immediately everybody knows what is shown, although one surely hasn't seem that particular gas station yet.
Most likely, we tend to recall different memories of gas stations we've been to before.
The place however, which Leon Wachtler shows us, is artificial. It is the product of digital image design, which one can easily notice simply by observing the outer edges of the image. Leon Wachtler has worked with a digital painting software, in which he constructed custom brushes In order to create specific effects. The pastel colored sunset was painted using the same technique as the sharp edged cubes forming the asphalt or even the seemingly 3-dimensional pillar, which supports the roof.
The artificial feel especially sets in, where basic geometrical graphics are overlapped by more figurative picture elements: at the bottom left where one can see two large dark colored semicircles. So to speak, these are the initial contact points of the digital brush with the canvas; oversized, acting as a tool to lay down the asphalt. Above the semicircles, smaller brush strokes can be seen, which were used to create the sky. The flatness of the houses' silhouettes located on the horizon are a contrast to the other 3-dimensional elements. These describe two types of image, that both can be found in the environmental design of many video games, which Leon Wachtler refers to.
In spite of great efforts from some galleries, video game aesthetics are still not fully recognized in fine arts, even in today's culture,. strongly influenced by visuals. By refering to the artificial word »Anemoia«, meaning a nostalgic memory of an event that never happened, the title is giving a hint on the connection linking the non-existing place with our feelings emerging on observation of the image. The amount of specific image material is intetionally kept low, but just high enough for the feeling to come up. The remote gas station painted by Leon Wachtler might even be in some ways similar to the works of Edward Hopper. One major difference however is present in the used technique. While Hopper used a traditional painting technique, » Anemoia II « includes a discussion on it's digital heritage.
Written by: Jochen Meister
Click the play button to watch the interview to Anemoia II, in which I speak about the work itself and some of the technique I used while painting the image.