Page 17 - Studio International - August 1965
P. 17

Resin on canvas  1964
            80 x 74 cm.

                                    by  way·  of  increasing  abstraction,  to  a  graphically   unrelated materials, goes beyond the traditional bounds
                                    trellised form structure in which  echoes of  Cubism are   between painting and plasticity. The frontiers between
                                    traceable.  'Space-plan'  pictures  follow,  in  which  the   the two categories become fluid, a completely new and
                                    motif  of  the  town,  or  rather  'townscape'  appears   often  unexpected  approximation  to  the  amorphous
                                    transformed  in  a  dense  network  of  mutually  super­  forms of  Nature emerges.  Dahmen's pictures from that
                                    imposed  forms  and  lines.  The  pictorial  means  are   period  of  pioneering  break-through  are,  in  their
                                    ever  more  absolutely  imposed,  the  motif  sinks  behind   surfaces, reminiscent of dilapidated  walls,  crusty  earth,
                                    pictorial  form  scaffolding,  and  finally,  the  process  is   decayed  bark,  petrified  lava  or  porous  tufaceous
                                    reversed:  the  starting  point  is  independent  of  the   limestone.  But  graphic  patterns  are  always  the  basis,
                                    subject, is concerned only with the free play of creative   which tear up,  cleave,  accentuate the colour structure.
                                    means.  Colour  becomes  the  predominant  working  . Strangely  dyeing  colours  like  rust-red,  brown-gold,
                                    material,  it  imposes  itself  independently  as  colour­  yellow  ochre,  ash-grey  predominate  in  Dahmen's
                                    form,  its  layers,  thrown  into  viscous  relief,  forming   unusually  differentiated  palette.  His  torn-up  depths
                                    organic  excrustations.  Clefts  and  ravines  weave  over   often  gleam  with  mysteriously  glittering  tones  like
                                    the surface of the picture and we get those 'earth-crust   quartz  and  rock.  Viscous  structure  and  colourful
                                   pictures' and 'terrestrial formations'  for which  Dahmen   intensity  interpenetrate.
                                   became famous. The pictorial event is stamped with the   Then  there  are  paintings  which  are  suggestive  of
                                   earthy,  with  stuff,  substance,  stuff  as  the  maternal  in   exotic  bark  paintings,  the  ornaments  of  West  African
                                   the literal sense, as first cause of all life.     tribes or the masks and men's houses of the Sepik. Here
                                     Such  a  process  of  'material  painting',  even enlisting   the effect of the colours is still more veiled and muted,
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