Werner Reiter was born in 1953 and grew up in Styria. A self-taught artist, he first learned the trade of painter and decorator, which gave him facility with brushes and paints. During his apprenticeship, his boss allowed him to paint in oils, and he later trained in graphic arts. He now lives and works in Salzburg.
Reiter is constantly in search of something new; in the late 1980s he focused on environmental protection, earning the epithet of eco-artist in the press. The subject resulted in a complete series of 90 large-scale paintings, with many awards and successful exhibitions in Austria and abroad between 1989 and 1999.
These paintings reflect the artist's own convictions. The subjects are taken from the media and recorded as artworks. His direct and uncompromising artistic expression also brought him political censure, but this did not deter him. There is a kind of art which, though not always pleasing, is absolutely necessary. Every action in our daily lives is an intervention in our environment; for Reiter, this represents an ever-renewed challenge for his creative work.
He is a critical and ironic observer, exposing in this series man's stupidity and irresponsibility towards nature. He sees his work on environmental protection as artistic contemporary documentation, and was encouraged in his aim by fan-mail. The series was concluded in 1999 with a retrospective in a gallery in Germany.
Reiter constantly performs a solitary artistic balancing act, fitting into no scheme. Some find him problematic because his aim in all aspects of his work is to tell the truth.
He has held many painting courses in schools and training colleges, with one of his new techniques, using transparent and gloss paint on reflecting foil.
He also works as a sculptor, and as a freelance caricaturist for various newspapers. Always keen to try something new, he has chosen for his latest works the medium of photography, which opens up further interesting perspectives. His unique system Fingerprint on Art, which took him years to develop, has an international patent. His data bank contains all his works, officially registered for posterity. He sees this as his life-work for 21st-century art: Anything new needs time and acceptance to mature the benefit is reaped later.
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