Mathias Wolf
Tristan - 1998
Ball point pen on paper - 7,5cm x 10,5cm
For Wolf, the act of creating a drawing is improvisational. He does not use drawings, or preconceived notions; instead he allows the pieces to developed on the paper. There is, thus, an element of surprise and danger which is denied the precise nature of the finished work. Light and dark shading create the surfaces, building and dissolving an inner tension. Convincing depth on such a flat surface vokes in earld photographic experiences. Wolf´s pieces are referential only to the viewer, he is not interested in showing a partcular time and place.The drawings are more ephemeral than that. They are emotive fantasies, which capture a sensual experience through optical means.

Oskar Friedl

Oskar Friedl Gallery, Chicago

Chicago Tribune, Friday, August 11, 1989 Section 7 53
Romance emerges from drawings` detail
By Alan G. Artner
Art critic

Mathias Wolf´s drawings, at the Oskar Friedl Gallery, 750 N.Orleans Str., are cool, diamond-hard representations of a vision fundamentally romantic.

The images on view are landscapes, skyscapes and purely imaginary spaces. Several might be traced to Wolf´s native country; one to a stay not long ago in Chicago. The artist has made ballpoint pen drawings for about a decade. However, only now he shows a command that suggests he can take them anywhere he chooses...
The... artists lives and works in a small town in Schleswig-Holstein, close to Denmark, so it is no exaggeration to say his pieces are concerned with northern light.
The most consistently successful pieces are the smallest, roughly 2-by-21/2 inches. Here we feel a kindship with certain works of 20th-Century photographers, notably light abstractions by Francis Bruguiere and "Equivalents" by Alfred Stieglitz.
But as was true in the work of many European artists from the turn of the century, Wolf´s light expresses various internal states and an ever-questing romantic drive toward perfection.
Wolf´s earlier (slightly larger) seascapes are equally beautiful, but like the interior that includes more than one color, they proclaim the amount of their labor perhaps overly much.

This drive is linked to his working in ballpoint pen, an unusual and labor-intensive medium.

He wields the pen lightly, so it barely touches the sheet, leaving a miniscule increment. Thousands, perhaps millions of these dots make up each image.
The technique is so painstaking that we may never get away from noticing and marveling at it first. But in the tiny drwaings, Wolf´s imagery soon takes over and casts its spell. These Pieces have not yet passed a point of diminishing returns,where little substantial is added and more handwork merely overwhelms.
Wolf never plans his images beforehand; it is a point of honor with him that they develop spontaneously. He must exert an almost superhuman control, as one false move could destroy the drawing.