The work: Miriam Loellmann, Inner Gift, 2021. Stainless steel and leather on plaster (gesso) in wooden frame, 113.5 x 87cm. Courtesy: the artist.
It is not often that artworks seek to encourage touch. However, with Brazil-based German artist Miriam Loellmann’s work Inner Gift, this experiential element is key to its dialogue with the viewer. Forming part of her Illusion and Isness series which utilises the visual language of optical illusions, Inner Gift is a mediation on the idea of traversing between internal and external spaces. Depicting what appear to be portals or doors that exist in a setting that defies spatial coherence, we peer into a formless world that moves and changes as we approach. The artist has altered the finishes of the metal using sanding and polishing, warping further the view into the scene. In contrast, the forms surrounding these gates are covered with deeply hued patches of leather, which interlock together to ground the piece.
These various textures of smooth and rough, soft and solid, come together to form a tactile prism of light and space. “I want to bring the viewer into a state of wonder and presence and clarity,” says Loellmann. Through her adept use of materials, Loellman compels her audience to oscillate between one realm and the next — remaining rooted in the present by the tactility of the work, whilst visually transported beyond the gates into possibilities unknown.