George Mauersberger works on paper, on view at Wolfs, mix tenderness and brutality
By Steven Litt, cleveland.com
The first impression of a mini-retrospective of works on paper by Cleveland artist George Mauersberger at Wolfs gallery in Beachwood is that he’s a master technician, or, perhaps that he’s just a master technician and little more.
But there’s more going on in his nearly hyper-realistic watercolors, pastels, charcoal and pen-and-ink drawings. Yes, they are consistently technically impressive. But importantly, they rise above mere facility to convey a magical sense of appreciation for the prosaic facts of the everyday humdrum world.
Technical mastery is, for Mauersberger, a kind of table stakes, a point of entry in his quest to confront the materiality of the world, the mystery of the existence of things, and the possibility of describing them faithfully in ways that show how the hand and eye can see more than the lens of a camera.
Through his transformative handling of humble materials, Mauersberger is able to convey the ecstatic luminosity of sunlight falling across flower petals, the billowing muscularity of cumulonimbus clouds rising in an inky dark sky, the suppleness of a well-worn black leather jacket, the gleam of mucus on a cow’s nose, and the heavy, dry roughness of concrete cinder blocks.