Born in Bremen, Germany, Norbert Schwontkowski has been showing work progressively throughout Europe to the reaches of Japan, USA and Egypt. In 2010 Schwontkowski shows for the first time in Australia with Dominik Mersch Gallery.
Set against lush and visually complex backgrounds the figures and simple representational elements in his works possess a sort of infinity, they survive in a melancholy existence and reflect an everyday hostile world, in which there are transiting through. Instead of location and structure there seem motifs of a state of mind, anonymous in between non-places of restlessness, loneliness and isolation. Yet in isolation and loneliness can emerge freedom, and, in his works, loneliness and freedom seem inextricably linked.
Humour and irony in the depicted situations seems the key to freedom for the anonymous figures on which we are viewing; almost invading these private worlds. The irony which occurs is Schwontkowski's solution to solve this eternal conflict of desire, reality, self and harsh cruel world.
The surface of his canvases are built up with layers of different colours which he then smooths down. The artist produces his own paints, using ingredients that have included, copper paint, linseed oil, iron chloride, turpentine oil, water and tea, ground pigments and bone glue. The colour of these homemade paints tend toward the deep and tertiary, and the textures are sometimes gritty and crumbly.