Thru 13 July 2012
On 3 May 2012 Art Sensus will introduce Dutch artist Jan Maarten Voskuil to the UK in an
exhibition titled Non-Alphabetical Order. On display, will be his latest series of paintings,
4 Squeezed Squares, Dynamic Monochromes and The Alphabet of Silly Colours. The
bodies of work all deconstruct painting itself in both a consistent and elaborate way. They
emphasise rationally, the formal aspects of colour, size and deformation, whilst embodying
dynamism and sensuality.
Voskuil’s work transcends the boundaries between the processes of design,
sculpture, painting and installation art. Constructing his own stretcher frames, he
manipulates the wood into organic curves and geometric shapes, then stretches linen over
the forms, creating a spatially three-dimensional artwork. These minimalist canvases,
painted solid white or with large monochrome shapes, create a dynamic surface without the
need for further ornamentation or narrative.
Voskuil gave up figurative painting over 15 years ago when the urge to explore artistically
how things were made, rather than why, took over. Unsatisfied with the two dimensional
surface, Voskuil began experimenting with the physical composition of the painted surface.
Over time, as his skills in bending the wooden stretchers became more refined, this led to
the discovery of countless possibilities of manipulating the canvas. Voskuil’s oeuvre follows in the footsteps of minimalist artists of the 1960s such as Enrico
Castellani, Agostino Bonalumi and Lucio Fontana, who all experimented with altering the
traditional canvas. While his predecessors saw their work as a break with or rejection of
painting itself, Voskuil differs in that he still thinks of his work as painting, always using linen
and acrylic paint as his primary materials.
Voskuil’s first series to be unveiled at Art Sensus, 4 Squeezed Squares is comprised of
large-scale square modular pieces, with the canvas of each individual module ‘squeezed’
differently, then fitted together to create the final work. The modules Voskuil creates, which
he refers to as ‘spare parts’, exemplify the simple geometric skeleton that sets up the spatial
frame of the painting. The colour white is used exclusively for these works to emphasize the
play of light and shadow on the canvas surface as well as his ambivalence towards the
narrative nature of colour. Conversely, Dynamic Monochromes consist of broken circles,
consisting of uneven parts which are reconstructed into lozenge like modules placed
together to form ‘splashy monochromes’.
A similar contrast can be seen in The Alphabet of Silly Colours. For this edition of smaller
works, Voskuil creates a circular canvas, and subdivides it into 4 equal sections. As an
origami painting he explores the possibilities, folding each section into a new highly graphical
shape. The series of 17 shapes anesthetises all the possibilities within his own rules. The
title of the work underlines his ambivalence towards colour, as something which he should
distance himself from.
Aside of these three new series, Voskuil will also show recent ‘pointless’ works. In these
works, which he started in 2007, in a show called The Point Is, There is No Point.