Catalogue text


Statement to the exhibition in Washington D.C.






Catalogue text Dr. Gisela Hossmann


Dagmar Dost-Nolden – Painting



Although in the course of the 20th century the end of painting as an art form was often proclaimed, some artists, even in times of the most radical and revolutionary changes, remained uninfluenced on their own course and continued to paint their works as they saw fit. Today, at the beginning of the 21th century, the many and manifold exhibitions in museums, galleries and art fairs are proving over again that the painted picture has not lost its validity.


Dagmar Dost-Nolden is a painter of inner persuasion and necessity and brings that which she sees, feels and moves into visible forms on the canvas. Her artistic career, which already began in 1960, experienced a change in the 1990`s from an initially figurative and widely accessible art into an expressive, almost even spiritual abstraction.


The works of the last five years, which this catalogue shows through selected examples, make evident on what level of tension the artist is working and what antagonizing forces come into play: the deliberate and the unconscious, the rational and the irrational, spontaneity and the calculated plan, substantial and spiritual reality, nature and human artefacts. Although various abstract concepts play an important role in this process: energy, dynamics, impulse, motion, atmosphere, light and air, the most important ideas for this artist are those of the “human being” and “nature” in all their different facets and ambivalence.


Energies discharge into thick convergences and whirlpools of colors, here and there even into powerful explosions coming from a central point, which however must not necessarily be the formal centres of the composition. In this way openings and vistas are attained into the depth of the canvas, into something which appears to lie beyond the visible surface.


Explosions are uncontrolled motions that the artist manifests by vigorous strokes of the brush. A luminous red, a brilliant yellow, an intensive blue are whirling about the canvas and project beams of light in all directions. The power and the energy that the artist invests into these compositions practically spring over toward the spectator. Often black lines flicker over the surface of the pictures like flashes of lightning (as in “energy1”), they accent the branches and leaves waving in a tree (as in “Symphony of a Tree” and “Secrets of the Underbrush”), or they emphasize the outer and inner movement of a human being (as in the series under the title: ”Call” ).


Dagmar Dost-Nolden works above all with the idea of the “human being”, it is the central point of her interest, because man involves everything in his being that she would like make visible: he moves, he causes changes in himself, he releases energy, and behaves through his emotions and temper. Often that which she wants to show is not immediately evident, because hermotifs are difficult to discover. She demands from her serious viewers that they take a second look at her work and use their powers of imagination for their own creative interpretations. The human figure and its surroundings often conglomerate and achieve unity among diversity. A valid example is the energized “Diptychon”, which, from an apparent tangle of lines and colors, extracts on prolonged viewing the figures of a man and a woman standing antithetically. Each figure emits radiating lines over to the other figure. “The external form is not so important, the same contents could be expressed in an abstract painting. “ opined the artist. This “Diptychon” proves her theory and shows simultaneously how intensively she herself enters into a dialogue with her figures.


 Every picture in the artist’s oeuvre arises out of an inspiration during the painting process, through the thoughts, the feelings, and the mood of the moment in which she finds herself. These various criteria direct the development of a motif. She defines for herself much of what she is going to do before setting out, but most of what comes out – often to artist’s own amazement – manifests itself in unexpected forms and colors on the canvas.


Colours are the basis of her painting, they confer the basic emotion in which in which the artist moves. Her colours are, by the way, seldom gloomy, dull or sad. Her palette is the opposite: bright, luminous and positive.


Dagmar Dost-Nolden attributes this to her place of origin, to her way of looking at things that she learned in her native city of Prague. Prague is a city of baroque architecture, gaudy, rich in nuances and flooded with light in every season of the year. The perception of this phenomenon has made its imprint on her consciousness and guides the expressive elements of her work.


Not only the colours, but also the structures of the painting surface are influenced by her earlier experiences in Prague. The pompous baroque style and the decorative art nouveau seen everywhere in the architecture tend toward the dramatic gesture, even in places where the plaster is falling down from the walls and the facades are left to decay. Crumbling walls give clear witness to the strata of their construction and refract the sunlight intensively.


The artist has taken up this phenomenon and transmitted it into the canvas by mixing sand into the acryl or oil paint. In this way she achieves a very tactile surface, into which she engraves certain structures, depending on the thickness of the applied material. By means of

this technique she recreates on the canvas that powerful refraction of light that she was earlier able to observe on the crumbling walls. In some pictures she has added bits of cloth material of various size and thickness into the mixture of colour and sand in order to heighten and intensify these expressive possibilities.


The transparency of light is achieved by a special technique in which she prepares the canvas with a chalk solution before applying paint. The dampness of the preparation absorbs  the paint and disperses the pigments irregularly over the surface. This makes them appear suddenly as light and transparent as aquarelle colours. Dagmar Dost-Nolden derives also this technique from her experience with the architecture of her native city.


When the colours, forms and lines have been brought into a synthesis, the composition of a picture gains balance, harmony and depth, the surface begins to vibrate.


The famous English painter David Hockney once declared: “Painters know about the surface, only if you acknowledge surface, can you go through it.”

Dagmar Dost-Nolden has certainly achieved that in her art.



English translation Robert Thistle               

On the way / paintings


 Gallery Art Windows, 1110 Vermont Avenue - N.W. Washington  D.C. Virginia, USA                                                             February 2003






Our ways and directions often decide our life. Each of us passes through a labyrinth of many different possibilities. There are many factors and influences coming from every direction. Which is the right way, how to keep our direction? This is the question concerning our life. That is why I have chosen “On the way” as the title of my exhibition.


I am a painter because I have a great need to express myself and/or to comment on the various matters of society. My paintings are a part of my life. They are views into the micro- and macrocosms of our human existence.


I am attempting to achieve an optimal synthesis of all that I know and feel, combining rationality with irrationality, spontaneity with calculated plan.


I use different structure types involving paper, textile and sand on the canvas for giving the impression of light, air and space, which are all important to me. In some of the pictures one can discover human figures. I try to give the viewer a secret spice, so that he or she may find his or her own personal emotional interpretation.


I often combine opposite poles in order to cause dynamic tension. The permanent changing of energy fascinates me. Coming from chaos, I am seeking a superior order involving everything.  





.....“A human being, like everything else, is only a small part of freely streaming energy forming the whole universe”..….


D A G M A R  D O S T - N O L D E N
painting, collage, sculpture, performance.

contact: phone/fax: +49 (0)221/ 34 48 04, Eburonenstrasse 16, D- 50678 Cologne, Germany

..“A human being, such as everything else, is only a small part of freely streaming energy that is forming the whole universe”... this is the Theme of my art.

                    born in Prague Czech Republic, living in Germany since 1978

1965 - 69
                    High School of Creative Arts V. Hollar, Prague
1971 - 76
                    Academy of Fine Arts Prague, prof. J. Smetana, master graduated with award
                    stipendiary of Art Association
1983 - 92
                    encounter with Anthroposophy
984 - 88
                    director of painting section at Galeriewerkstatt Dormagen e.V
1989 - 92
                    theatre acting in FWT Cologne
                    member of Gedok Cologne (Association of professional woman artist)
                    International Art Symposium “Colours by Nations” ,Rosshaupten D
                    International Art Symposium “Paint a Future” in St. Michielsgestel, NL
                    International Art Symposium “Paint a future” in Santa Catarina, Brazil
                    International Art symposium Muzeum Kamenice nad Lipou, Czech Republic
                    International Symposium on the arts, New York University, USA
                    member of Bonner Akademie för Kunst und Kultur -Codexmegs
                    Third Free International Forum (for J. Beuys) Bolognano Italy / by Lucrezia De Domizio Durini
                    London East Festival UK
                    BorderZone Arts San Francisco USA -affiliated artist
                    Creative Rooms project – 53, Biennale di Venezia, curated by Lucrezia De Domizio Durini It

selected exhibitions: S= solo exhibition

                    Venice Biannual - Hotel Certosa It, Eifelmuseum Blankenheim D,
                    Gallery Steiner Vienna At -S, Galerie Dion Prague CZ-S, August Art Gallery London UK,
                    Galleria della Fornace Pianoro It, Galerie Bongartz Sankt Augustin D-S, SAVI Budrio Bologna It,
                    Art in a Box-Cheryl Pelavin Fine Arts Gallery New York USA, Museums Night Gallery 68/11Koeln
                    Art Fair Immagina - Fiere Di Regio Emilia It, - Galerie Zeugma Cologne, Townhall Bolognano It,
                    Eifelmuseum Blankenheim D, Galeriewerkstatt Hirtenturm Blankenheim D, OLG Cologne D
                    Art Fair Art Prague CZ, Kruispunt Denderleeuw Belgium, Gallery Corinna Steiner Wienna At,
                    Waldesovo Museum Galerie Des Prague, Glaspavillon Rheinbach S-D, Art Fair Akzenta Graz At,
                    Presentation at International Art Symposium New York University NY, USA,
                    Art Rotterdam NL, European Culture Center IGNIS D, Kunsthaus Rhenania Cologne, D,

                    City Museum Cologne- Museum Zuendorfer Wehrturm Cologne S-D, Czech Embassy Bonn S-D,
                    Muzeum Kamenice n Lipou CZ, Art Fair Art Prague Gallery Gambit Prague CZ,
Museu d'Arte de Santa Catarina Florianopolis Brazil, Neues Kunstforum Cologne D,
                    Kunstforum St.Clemens Cologne-D, Kunsthaus Rhenania D, Fringe Festival Edinburgh UK,
                    Oudheidkundig Museum S.Michielsgestel NL BontArt Gallery Koeln S-D,
                    Ludwig Forum für internationale Kunst Aachen, Monastery Knechtsteden -D,
                    De Oude Kerk Amsterdam- NL, Museum Castle Homburg-D, Museum Rosshaupten-D,
                    ArtStore / Art Association Cologne D, Stadtgarten Cologne S-D,
                    Intersalon AJV Jihoceske Museum Ceske Budejovice- CZ, Gallery of Lidice –CZ,
                    Museum of Women Art Bonn, -D, Museum Strahov CZ,, Art Windows Washington D.C. S- USA
                    Kunstmuseum Bonn -D, Intersalon Ceske Budejovice CZ, Kulturbunker Muelheim Cologne S- D,
ArtStore/Art Association Cologne D, Gallery Art d’ Oeuvre S-D
                    Museum Siegburg- D, Trinitatiskirche Bonn- D, Gallery of City Hall Cologne-Porz S-D
                    Kuenstlerforum Bonn -D, Strahow Monastery Prague- CZ,
                    Kunstverein Koeln rechtsrheinisch S–D, Gallery Portyc Pisek CZ
                    Gallery KunstWerk Wiesbaden–D, City Gallery Erftstadt D-S, Museum Strahov CZ
                    Gallery im Turm Cologne D, Intersalon Ceske Budejovice CZ,
                    Gallery Neustadtfenster Art Association Bergneustadt D-S, Museum Caslav CZ,
                    Intersalon Budweis CZ, Museum Strahovsky Klaster Prague CZ, House of Art Budweis CZ
                    Museum of Art and Design Benesov CZ, Czech Embassy Bonn D-S
                    Museum Castle Teplice CZ, 1987-Museum Castle Homburg D, 1977-Gallery u Recickych Prague

Art works in collections of Czech government department of culture, Museum de Arte de Santa Catarina Florianopolis Brazil and other collections around the world.