The starting point for each work is that each mark is needed. This requires a rigorous approach in always stripping down, and sometimes building up, line and color. Painting offers an infinite number of ways for those marks to be placed. The disadvantage and the reason the process is so time consuming, is that finding one of those infinite options can be difficult. Going too far in either direction—building up or reducing-- in this endeavor destroys the overall design and structure, so the process demands a careful balance...
The work also relies on certain underpinnings involving the narrative/non-narrative tension, the abstract/representation tension, and the tension between two-dimensionality and the illusion of three-dimensionality. Further, I am interested in the interplay of black and white and color variations within those broad bands together with how those colors interact to create negative and positive space. Some of the paintings are purely abstract, such as the grid paintings (both those with a tight grid and those with a looser, ambiguous grid coupled with black rectangular anchoring shapes) and some strip paintings, while others utilize language, and arguably are not fully abstract. However, in all cases, the strategy described above applies with the same goals, although with somewhat different design features...
- Howard Silberthau
By: Christina Tian-Qiu, Seraphin Gallery Intern Edited by: Alyssa Laverda, Associate Director The Untitled (Blue) series, is composed of four square-shaped canvases, all focused around the nuanced tones of a single blue. While Silberthau's medium is oil paint, the texture of the deep indigo hues recall a combination of waxy crayon and powdery pastel.
By: Cate McQuaid, Boston Globe, 12/28/01
"Instead of visiting galleries this week I'm revisiting the highlights of the past year... Howard Silberthau's show at the Pepper Gallery was a revelation of lush, often monochromatic abstractions. Silberthau has been painting for years but held off exhibiting his work until he felt it was mature, and his gamble paid off. His paintings played surface against depth the way a thick fog does: You know it goes on, but you only see what's in front of you."