Untitled, 2015, 170 x 220 cm, Öl auf Leinwand
Manuel Stehli’s paintings center around landscape and human interaction. The references used are often seemingly trivial moments which, at the same time, have the potential of turning into something archetypal through the process of painting. In other works the reverse takes place: A dramatic, loaded image may become compromised as it gets worked over, eventually succumbing to the formal concerns of the painting. It is this juggling of meanings and expectations that interests Stehli. Often references only make it half-way into the work, undergoing a process of dismantling and recombination along the way. What is being sought are changes – often subtle and unintended – that put into question the entire dynamic of a scene without concealing its origin. The result is what could be called a state of limbo, which applies to both the narrative and the formal content of the paintings.