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September 28, 2010 > In search of image

In search of image

By Mona Shah

The husband and wife artist team of Maureen and Peter Langenbach will show a series of watercolor paintings and sculptures at Mission Coffee Roasting Company through October. Married for 35 years, the Langenbachs have each retained a distinctive personality and approach while sharing a love for artistic expression.

The focus of Maureen A. Langenbach is the depiction of ordinary objects that are either visually pleasing or a challenge to render. Her preferred medium is watercolor, and her subject matter comes from her own surroundings. Usually the objects are pieces she has found or collected over the years knowing that they will be used in a painting. Her interest is deepened by their ordinariness and in the challenge of trying to make art from the common place.

"Each painting becomes a problem to solve, concentrating on some element such as texture, color or light. The items I choose to paint are ones that I love to look at or feel would be a challenge to render. A considerable amount of time is spent working out the composition, arranging and rearranging objects until I find the overall composition that satisfies me. I am interested in light and the effect of light and transparency. I try to be as faithful to a realistic depiction of the shape and color of the subject matter as possible. Building images using thin washes, up to seven or eight, of transparent paint to attain the greatest luminosity and depth of color, I find that by painting in this manner my colors have become darker and richer," states Maureen.

Peter Langenbach was a middle school teacher in Union City for three decades. He always felt that it was important for him to break out of the more traditional settings and take his art to the public, to show work at venues that have large exposure to people that would not normally visit a gallery or museum.

"Given the absurdity of the world we live in I have taken on as my singular task that of providing a bit of irreverence through whimsically sophomoric to topically edgy sculptures. I expect that when you view my pieces you might think that this guy has a pretty self-indulgent sense of humor. That and being in a classroom with 12 year olds for 35 years is not a conduit to high art, just good preparation for a little zaniness," says Peter.

He uses recycled materials in his work both for environmental reasons, and because it forces him to be more creative in his approach to art. "It would be ever so much easier to simply go to the store and buy wood, paint, whatever, rather than scrounge, but that would eliminate part of the challenge for me. The making of art is my ultimate goal, and the most satisfying," adds Peter.

Peter and Maureen collaborate often. Each has their own medium for expression, but as a piece is taking shape, constructive criticism and comment flow freely between the two. The couple recently collaborated on installations for "The Day of The Dead" show at the Oakland Museum and Meek Mansion in Hayward.

As personal and professional advocates for each other, Peter and Maureen epitomize the soul of art. Both recognize the value of their medium of expression and use it as an integral part of their lives.

Mission Coffee Art Show
October 1 - 31
Artist Reception
Sunday, October 3
Mission Coffee Roasting Company
151 Washington Blvd., Fremont
(510) 623-6920

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