Art Papers Magazine December 1991
Metro Dade Cultural Resource Center
Among the many artists who live in south Florida few have contemplated its enviroment with passion and freshness of Sebastian Spreng, a painter born in Buenos Aires in 1956. Spreng came to Miami with an impressive list of triumphs but it was not until he reached Florida that he found the central theme of his work: man’s presence between the faces of the planet-land and sea.
Like a wraith floating on the mirror that divides these two faces, a solitary man swims, stand amid crystalline tides or drifts like a leaf on the sea. At times his presence is no more than a dot amid extensions of turquoise and cobalt. Other times, thee boy larger and nearer, melts in refractions. The point of view is always elevated. Spreng prevents the spectator from identifying with the being who is making this strange element his own. It is an episode in the possession of the world, but it is a wise and subtle possession- it is enough to simply be, contemplate, swim. Between Icarus and Columbus, consciousness with its slender movements saves itself from both tragedy and adventure. Although the body might slide along iridiscent tides, the world becomes the residence of difficult freedoms only when man makes his presence.
The man who navigates between the carnal weight of the earth and the airy levitations of the sea also weaves dream with inmanence. We could say Spreng’s paintings at once lyrical and cerebral describe an intimate re-encounter between man and something he once loved more than himself: harmony with the rest of life. Spreng’s work offer us a mythical vista which at the same time a question. Are we capable of returning to that harmony, that cradle of responsible freedom?.
Spreng articulates the paradox of human Being-although man alone is agent and consciousness, he is but one of life’s beings. All landscape seeks its destiny in reflection, seeks to become the indispensable verb in an idea or an attitude towards life. In the paintings of Spreng the chimera of landfall which we call Florida has accomplished a part of his destiny.