The oeuvre of Max Uhlig, who is one of the most significant painters currently working in Germany, is characterized by expressive lines which make his motifs – portraits and landscapes, with occasional still-life and figure study pictures – characteristic and unmistakable. They are key to the way his work straddles the worlds of abstract art and representational art. The subtle and highly variable quality of the lines found in the pictures of Max Uhlig give his art a unique dramatic tension. He makes an intensive study of his chosen subject, engaging in an extended search for the appropriate form. The artist himself describes this as “constantly experiencing reality in a new way”.
The picture Half-length figure/ seated young man (S.M) demonstrates Uhlig’s distinctive use of lines: his graphical encapsulation of the energies of the human being begins with the liberation of the lines from their purely representational function. It is through the interplay of the lines, the forms and the expressiveness of the physical attitude that we, as viewers, begin to imagine a human being with a distinctive signature of individuality and personality. The expressive dynamic of Max Uhlig’s brushstrokes, inspired by Chinese and Asiatic art, produces an interwoven structure of lines that gives the portrait its own particular qualities of physicality and of life.