Rebecca Maria Jäger

The small-format works making up Nikola Röthemeyer’s FrauenZimmer (‘Women’) series show themselves multi-layered both in their content and their drawing. At the centre of these pictures are women, rendered by means of crisp contours and strong colours in vibrant contrasts. With their almost stoic expressions and their proud, confident postures, they radiate clarity and presence. Autarkic and self-referential, they seem impervious to all outside influence and in absolute accord with their own being. Lost in their activities, they create a pictorial space that remains unbounded not merely in the compositional sense. As the structural support, paper assumes the task of providing the material ground for the figures and the space for the drawings. But even the edges of the paper are unable to delimit the space that opens up when we look at Röthemeyer’s works.

In the series FrauenZimmer II, the women are portrayed in most cases with animals, rendered in a style of drawing that makes them appear much more
fragile and indeterminate. Created with fine hatching and often without outlines, they look as if they are emerging out of the pictorial ground in order to nestle against the female figures, in some cases to envelop them and to conceal them. Their appearance raises questions whose answers we can only guess. The concentrated, silent and self-contained impression conveyed by the women is thus complemented by dreamlike spheres, glimpses and wishes that lure the viewer into the world of associations. It seems as if we are witnessing a transformational process in which two levels of drawing are becoming a symbolic entity.

Making repeated reference to mythology and art history, Röthemeyer’s works draw us into a pictorial space that animates the intellect and calls for interpretation as it leads us through a variety of rooms. At the same time, the painterly qualities of her pictures mean that it is no less delightful simply to stand still.

in: RISING – Young artists to keep an eye on, DAAB Verlag, Köln 2011