Friends of Gaya
Gaya Ceramic

Peter Dittmar
17 February - 30 March 2003
Aida, the Space In-Between

, pronounced Kun Jien in Chinese, Aida in Japanese, is the Space In-Between. Like the silence around the Hindu holy syllable AUM, the empty space between forms is a spiritual nothingness, filled simultaneously with boundless being and complete non-existence. It is where God resides.

It is also an indispensable element in the overall balance of Dittmar's compositions. It heightens the tension present within and between every shape, it enlivens every line, it creates its own movement between forms. The conscious use of space rather than exclusive focus on objects was one of the early breakthroughs of modern art - from Mondrian's strangely balanced lines using black or white to symbolize nothingness to Rodin's deliberate spacing of the Burghers of Calais to
Claude Debussy's famous statement that "music is the space between the notes," space has always been the counterpoint of form and its skillful
use a sign of true mastery.

In Aida, Peter Dittmar has incorporated this space in-between, the formless form, directly into his canvasses. The space, an actual hole in the teakwood base on which Dittmar paints, gives room for the calligraphic elements of his paintings to come together, to interplay and to ring out against a place of stillness and peace, imagination and

Dittmar's paintings balance opposites in a rhythmic conceptual shimmer akin to the juxtaposition of complimentary colours. Although the empty space symbolises a fundamental openness, its boundaries are designed on the basis of geometric shapes such as the circle, square, rectangle or triangle to provide "form" for the empty space within the fluid cosmos of Dittmar's abstract paintings.

Within this cosmos, the geometric shapes of intellect and rationality are balanced against the emotional expression of calligraphic brush strokes,
themselves a harmony of control and spontaneity; the colours balance the subtle feminine Siena red with the black-blue-violet mixture of a definite male presence, tonally grounding the painting even while the richly textured backgrounds of handmade papers and combed surfaces remind that everything in existence is continually in flow and hint at realms more generally associated with stone-gardens in Zen monasteries.

The vitality of Dittmar's paintings grows out of decades of rigorous practice in control. The calligraphic strength of his fluid images express the presence of here and now, spontaneously, but with a finesse which would not be possible without forty years of training, technique and concentration. Like the aesthetic values of Wabi-Sabi, which search
for the perfect in imperfection and the imperfect within perfection, without seeking, Dittmar's art creates a space for transcending traditional ways of seeing and thinking, a space in-between.

Such awareness, transcendence and growth, and all art grounded in a spiritual background, become increasingly important at a time of political deterioration around the world.

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