Christian Peltenburg-Brechneff in his studio

Christian Brechneffs new pastels, drawn in various locations around the world, indicate a remarkably direct, close relationship-rather startling intimacy and engagement-with nature, even more intense, I venture to say, than that of the Impressionists. These 19th Century artists retained a certain "scientific" distance and detachment-they wanted to observe the details of atmosphere and light, not immerse themselves in the totality of nature-that Brechneff altogether abandons, without abandoning any of his artistic ability and awareness, indeed, the acumen of his hand. He is a kind of Jacob wrestling with the angel of light, with his art receiving its blessing. His pastels are mystical epiphanies that nonetheless remain adroitly focused-a romantic art that carefully details the titanic forces at work in sacred nature.

There is in fact a strong sense of the limitless-the rupture of the unbounded-in Brechneffs oceanic pastels. One can feel it in every detail, as it loses its boundaries in the process of fusing-in a kind of magmatic fury-with other details, to form an amorphous infinity. Brechneff pictures what has been called "nonindifferent nature"-a nature into which we project our own emotions-but it is also a nature that reminds us of our irrelevance in the larger scheme of the cosmos.

ChristianBorn in the former Belgian Congo in 1950, Christian Peltenburg-Brechneff was educated in Switzerland, England and the United States of America. In 1975 he received his Master of Art Degree from the Royal College of Art in London. He has exhibited in Europe and the United States of America, and has won numerous awards, including the Swiss Federal Government Scholarship. "Three Oceans", his last one man show in New York in 2001, was with Salander-O'Reilly Galleries.

His paintings appear in public and private collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Greece, and the Orange Country Museum, Newport Beach, California.