Abstract portrait and landscape painting form an exciting liaison in Rubica von Streng’s oeuvre. The works of her “PortLand” cycle are multi-layered, aesthetically composed oil paintings that appear watercolor-like and radiate an unexpected lightness, however heavy and complex the subjects may be at times. The artist achieves this balancing act thanks to the self-developed so-called arpeggio painting technique: wafer-thin layers of highly diluted oil paint are applied one after the other, creating a powerful ensemble of overlapping color spaces and forms. Christoph Tannert, Director of Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, found the perfect words to describe the paintings in his opening speech for an exhibition in 2023: “In her ‘PortLand’ paintings, von Streng conjures up the wonders of this world”.
The Berlin-based artist deals with topics such as nature conservation, biodiversity and climate change. This is also the case in the “PortLand” work cycle, which she began in 2018 and which now consists of three consecutive parts with a total of more than 100 paintings and a sculpture. The cycle starts with the series “Towards PortLand” (2018-2019), which is about the fusion and rootedness of individuals and the environment. Four works from this series were shown in the international group exhibition “Taking Root” at KIT Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in 2019/20. In the second part of the cycle, “Limits of PortLand” (2020-2021), portraits and moods of the land come together; borders disappear or are fluidly crossed. In “Beyond PortLand” (2022-2023), the third part, the traditional shapes of landscape and portrait increasingly dissolve and take on a fleeting, sometimes even gaseous form.