Beyond the Painting

by | 2 Mar, 2018

Painting through its poetical emotion – Episode #1

The seeds of strife towards the beyond, the abstract and the innermost nature are contained in each manifestation. Consciously or unconsciously, they obey the word of Socrates: “Know Thyself”. Whether consciously or not, the artists gradually turn to their material to test the balance of each separate element’s innermost value, out of which they derive their creations of art.

Kandinsky, On the Spiritual in Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 1946.

Painting, as a philosophy of seeing, was defined in the Renaissance as one of the most noble arts that man has ever used to express reality and himself. Crossing over the time, in particular in the 20thcentury with rise of artistic Avant-garde, the expression of objective reality was replaced by subjective feeling. Then, it was possible to enter into a perceived world characterised by a synchronous expressive evolution that progressively abandoned figurative art to go to abstraction. In fact, after the invention of photography (1839), painting has started its modern evolution renouncing progressively to representation of reality and nature.

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. Nature has its own language impossible to imitate, as the reality of the contemporary world always in continuous changing now more than before. But any art, in particular abstract painting, can recreate by artistic representation the same innermost atmosphere and pretty otherworldly values. This kind of representation is more close to the soul of artist, his or her deepest sight. Therefore, the artist reproduces a new reality relate to personal and authentic perception of nature. We lost the object, we don’t have any more references with the reality but, in the same time, we as onlooker become part of the artwork itself and more close to the creative process.

As the American art historian Rosalind Krauss expresses: “visiting an art work is the art work”. This sentence can also be extended to abstract art exhibitions, where people can walk around the space of consciousness and play an important role as external operator able to activate and complete the sense of the art work by their physical presence around paintings. The spatial experience lived in the reality of a given space makes it an important element to consider as a part of artistic process.

Five women in show, five Dutch artists from the international art scene, two generations with a solo peculiar way to paint abstraction. They choose to paint privileging the strong, bold, savage and forceful sign and colour. Instead of flowers painted with soft colours, or landscape drawn by light water colours, as the women of bourgeois would have done in the past, they decided to be brave and authentic expressing herself with a personal approach and method. Each one of them uses a specific palette and sign which become a peculiar signature very visible, recognisable without any sort of doubts and capable to produce emotions.

José Heerkens by her geometric grid and coloured lines produces an infinite sense of quiet. She prefers the horizontal lines more close to the femininity and the landscape 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.

Linda Arts, with her geometric optical abstraction, shows how is possible to create an imaginary space that go over the physical space. She produces an illusive gap between the painting and the viewer who falls at loss. She plays with this line of vision but, at a closer look, it’s possible to see the little details and mistakes of her hand painting which allow us as observer to feel more in confidence with her very traditional paintings.

On the other hand, Bettie van Haaster is a completely different abstract painter more impulsive and passionate. Her painting is pretty expressionist, each her brushstroke hits with power the canvas to create concretion of colours. The waves of colour stand out giving a third dimension to her handy flat painting surface.

Evi Vingerling catches from reality details which seem insignificant and of minor importance to all of us. But this abstractive creative process shows the importance of every destabilised part of nature, which becomes part of our sensitive experience. Each element is linked with the perception of reality that is impossible to recognise, because the goal is the suitable mix of bold colour and light shape.

In the end, Marije Gertenbach is a very uncommon painter. She plays with the space using unstretched canvas hung on wallpainting, which becomes part of the work itself. Her original way to use the space to produce paintings, that are also installations, engages completely the onlooker who have to move in the space finding the best point of view to enjoy of her mixed artworks.

All of them come from Netherlands, an almost flat land. Perhaps it is possible to find this social identity element in their idea of limitless art and pure sensory no-space, the core of their paintings. What we obtain is a pure vision pared away into a dazzle of pure instantaneity, into an abstract condition as a moment of pure transparency and self-knowledge where the connection to the objects completely disappear to leave only the pure presentness. These pure artists sought to express inner truths in their work and – as Kandinsky wrote in his On the spiritual in art– automatically repudiated all consideration of external accidents.

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 soul.

Pure artistic form and colour is an expression of the artist’s nonphysical life to create a unique abstract painting, which is the demonstration of a research of simplicity and ease of the rhythm of colour to manner of setting into e-motion.

The unavoidable influence and mutual relation between form and colour causes a pure artistic composition where colour assumes a form and vice versa, provoking the observer to feel the harmony and spiritual being of endless. Since the combinations and effects of colours and forms are infinite, then abstract painting is inexhaustible.

V. Kandinsky, On the Spiritual in Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 1946.

R. Krauss, The Optical Unconscious, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, 1993.

  • Marije Gertenbach, Yesterday everything was still blue, 2017.
  • Bettie van Haaster, Linda Arts. Beyond the Painting.
  • Booklet "Beyond the Painting"

Ph Credits & Courtesy of the artists and SEA Foundation, Tilburg.

José Heerkens, Bettie van Haaster, Linda Arts, Evi Vingerling, Marije Gertenbach, Beyond the Painting (12th May – 17th June 2018, SEA Foundation, Tilburg NL).

The exhibition was supported by

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