Left: Bettie van Haaster, Dubbel, 2014. Oil on canvas, 35x25cm. Photo credit Tom Haartsen. Courtesy of artist
Right: Bettie van Haaster, Y, 2014. Oil on canvas, 35x25cm. Photo credit Tom Haartsen. Courtesy of artist
Beyond the Painting
In the exhibition ‘Beyond The Painting’, a emerging Italian curator from Turin, Valeria Ceregini, presents five contemporary Dutch female artists. What unites these five painters is that they all work in abstraction. In this exhibition, Ceregini wants to highlight precisely this aspect of contemporary painting and show how lively and beloved abstract painting still is as a means and a medium. She did not end up with these five Dutch women by chance, but investigates in her research how abstract work is still produced in various European countries and as a genre is very much alive. This show is built around the bold statements of a collection of five art practices concerning the female abstract voice of two generations. Despite their diversity, together they make a strong presentation, and proclaim a serene contemporary eloquence.
According to Ceregini:“The different artistic languages, from their origins, have challenged the notion of art as being “windows on the world”, human products born from the imitation of nature and as its form of knowledge. But, nowadays, it becomes important to focus on the new non-figurative art to explore and know better the new relationship between art and nature, artist, and reality”.
The five artists brought together in this exhibition are José Heerkens, Linda Arts, Bettie van Haaster, Evi Vingerling and Marije Gertenbach. Despite the fact that the work of these artists varies greatly in their visual form, Ceregini sees a strong connection that she especially links to the freedom that these women experience in the depiction of their feelings and their own perceptions. This is done in a way that they are not distracted by anything to make their personal visual statements. The curator considers this visuality to be an important contemporary comment that is characteristic of our current era. A time in which absolute freedom applies within the choice of the representation. Curator Ceregini states: “The five artists’ emotional power and their capability to give free scope to their finer feelings push art to the apex of our contemporary cultural period, where so often we miss the artistic substance, the soul of art. The abstract painting fades away into the pure visibility giving to the onlooker the opportunity to be close in touch with his imaginary innermost world of the soul”.
‘Beyond The Painting’ is the first episode of a research project on contemporary abstract painting and the first in a series of exhibitions brought together by Valeria Ceregini. In which she will also cover abstract painting in other European countries.
With her geometric optical abstraction, Linda Arts shows how it is possible to create an imaginary space that extends over the physical space. She produces an illusive gap between the painting and the viewer who falls at a loss. She plays with lines and vision but, at a closer look, it is possible to discover the details and mistakes of her hand which allow us, as observers, to feel more confident towards her traditional paintings.
José Heerkens, by her geometric grid and coloured lines, produces an infinite sense of quiet. Her pictorial research is based on the spaces and the essentiality of the elements through a direct experience. She prefers the horizontal lines since, for Heerksens, they seem closely linked to femininity and the horizon, the easiest and clever line in nature. She reduces the essence of nature, the colours and lines to transform them in something absolutely essential. The research of the space in between the full and empty field of colour makes a sensation of relevant pure clarity.
In contrast to the previous artists, Bettie van Haaster has a more impulsive approach. Her painting leans towards the expressionist way. Each powerful and dedicated brushstroke makes the paint flow and squeeze itself onto the canvas with and creates the concretion of colour. The waves of colour provide an additional dimension to her paintings.
Evi Vingerling catches small details from reality which seem insignificant at first. However, when the details of minor importance are revealed through a creative process, the importance of every destabilised part of nature becomes a sensory experience. Each element in her paintings is linked to the perception of reality in which it is impossible to recognise objects, as her goal is to mix both bold colour and light shape.
Marije Gertenbach uses space as the surface. For example by using unstretched canvas hung on the wall, the shape of the surface becomes part of the work itself. Her way to use the space to produce paintings, which may take the shape of an immersive installation, completely engages the viewer. It is necessary for the observer to move within in the framework of space in order to absorb the different perspectives that unfold in Gertenbach’s works.
Valeria Ceregini is an Italian art historian, curator and writer based in Turin, Italy and Dublin, Ireland. She earned her Masters degree in Semiotics at the University of Turin and in History of Contemporary Art at the University of Genoa, Italy. She continued her studies in Museology attending the Postgraduate School of Historical Artistic Heritage at the University of Genoa. She was Assistant Chief Curator at GAM – Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Turin and head curator and archivist at the Piero Gilardi’s Foundation in 2016. She currently is assistant curator at Palace Projects in Dublin. Valeria Ceregini was curator was Curator in Residence in October 2017.