The career of artist Sylvia Buehler
The Swiss artist is not easily pigeon-holed. Her skill, which has grown and developed over the years, is seen in a wide variety of techniques and objects in acrylic, oil, gouache, pastel and silk painting, as well as in textiles and sculptures.
In many respects, the artistic career of the 42-year old from East Switzerland is unusual. It began in 1986, when Sylvia Buehler modelled true-to-life figures with great attention to detail. Their artistic value was quickly recognised. In 1994, her work was acknowledged and honoured internationally for the first time when, as one of 650 participants from 13 European countries, she won 1st prize for her "Uhrenmacher" (watch-maker). In 1996, more of her dolls won silver and bronze at “Eurodoll” in Bregenz (Austria).
At one of her first painting exhibitions in 1995 (silk painting), the Swiss biscuit manufacturer ARNI purchased the painting “Appenzeller” to put on tins that were sold to the Far East (Japan). These tins are now traded as rare collector’s items.
Sylvia Buehler has lived and worked for more than 20 years in Herisau, in the canton of Appenzell Outer-Rhodes. In this time, she has become famous beyond the borders of her home canton for her distinctive and modern representation of Appenzell’s traditions. She is able to skilfully portray rural characters and their “joie de vivre” in brightly-coloured, dynamic paintings as well as capturing moments from everyday life and festive occasions. The artist's painting is characterised by harmony and a type of explosive zest for colours that she incorporates with great ease and skill in her pictures of traditions, landscapes, fruit and animals. Soft shades of colour (using just five colours!), combined with an unusual choice of colours in some pictures also arouse emotions in viewers, making them pause for a moment.
The uniqueness of her paintings is partially achieved by a technique this native of Appenzell discovered herself, in which she overlays metal acrylic ribbons and ornaments to communicate another optical level to the viewer. The artist has never attended an art school. Nor has she ever been the pupil of a renowned painting or drawing teacher. “She creates her art by self-teaching and a great deal of talent. Perhaps that is what makes her paintings so successful”, (St.Galler Tagblatt).
Her love of Appenzell and its inhabitants is not only expressed in her artistic creations. In 2005, Sylvia Buehler founded the association AR’t Herisau and thereby established a platform that offers artists the opportunity to showcase themselves and, at the same time, come into contact with other artists.
In 1998, the companies Sturzenegger AG in St. Gallen and Lehner AG in Appenzell commissioned her to paint four cows for the Zurich campaign “Land in Sicht – auf nach Zürich” (Land ahoy – off to Zurich). She immediately received more praise and recognition for her creations and one of the cows was also exhibited in New York.
These successes and the support of her family have allowed Sylvia Buehler to continue to find the courage and skill to put her sometimes unorthodox ideas into practice and tackle new ventures.
“She interprets rustic art with new vision and, today, is undisguisedly turning attention towards the countryside and people. She also dares to tackle a huge variety of unusual subjects, materials and techniques with precise skill and a keen eye for the essential, without being deterred by her success. She sets new standards for painting in Appenzell”, (Appenzeller-Magazin).
This examination of traditions has also led to another creation: “Milch-Chübeli-Handtaschen”. These urban, practical handbags are made with real cow skin and are equipped with straps and flaps; even the Velcro fastener for one’s mobile phone has not been forgotten. For once, art is a modern everyday accessory. The famous Swiss fashion magazine “freundin" said: “…these handbags are absolute trend setters”.
The fashionable “Buehler-Acryl-Taschen” are another innovation. These bags are made from paintings by the artist. The acrylic paintings are combined with different materials, such as leather and plastic to create modern and distinctive art bags. Every one of these unique items is designed and hand-sewn by the artist herself.
At the beginning of this year (2006), Sylvia Buehler was admitted as a member of the art organization “KUNST-FORUM-INTERNATIONAL”.
“Finishing a painting means beginning a new one.
It is as if I never leave a familiar room, but am always entering a new, unfamiliar one!”
Sylvia Buehler on her art work. muche more under www.art-of-switzerland.ch