Galerie Roger Katwijk, Amsterdam
Stefan Peters researches the possibilities of painting. He reduces the medium to its most elementary form: the gesture of the brush stroke. A painting results, after all, from interaction between the countless strokes that interweave, overlap and blend on its surface. By making the brush stroke autonomous and fully exploiting its suggestive possibilities, Peters demonstrates that the illusory power of paint is such that, even at a microlevel, it can evoke complete landscapes, panoramas, river valleys and cloudy skies. His work is an enchanting expression of William Blake's World in a Grain of Sand. The paintings in Peters' latest series are compelling landscape tableaux, which may also be regarded as a catalogue of the acts of painting and representation. The latter aspect is accentuated by the repetitive pattern of his “collage” of small paintings, which bears references both to old stamp-collectors' albums and to the rows of photo thumbnails in a smartphone menu.
Stefan Peters (1978) lives and works in Hasselt, Belgium
In spite of the fact that steel is generally considered to be rough and austere, Pieter Obels’ sculptures seem to be controverting the intrinsic possibilities of the material. When one looks at Richard Serra’s monumental steel slabs and wonders at the curves he manages to give his material, feelings of huge weight, size and strength arise.
Obels works with Corten steel, yet his works conveys above all lightness and grace, as he bends the steel into extraordinarily delicate and winding shapes. The two artistic worlds couldn’t be further apart. It is almost as if we are watching the yin and yang of the same material.
Through a clever interplay of rigidity and dynamism, Obels’ work occupies a space deftly lingering between a sense of weight and weightlessness. His sculptures completely confound our preconceptions of how a steel sculpture should look and behave. The curves in the work appear to defy what the material can be persuaded to do.
Obels aim is to create totally organic forms with an extreme, yet somehow innate, sense of plasticity. This sense of a natural rhythm makes his sculptures sit in total oneness with any natural environment. Rather than imposing themselves upon their surroundings, they appear to mirror the soft edges and harmoniousness often evident in nature. Notwithstanding the apparently cold material, the curves of the form and the rusty brown colour of their oxidization, enable them to create a bond with the surrounding ambience.
Working alone without assistants, Obels has, however, permitted this aspect to dominate his works, while at the same time emphasizing the elegiac quality they possess. Although totally contemporary, there is in his work a strong wistfulness for a bygone age, which favoured poetry over power and fragility and balance over industrial noise. The sense of a precarious balance which many of his works have, plays beautifully with the apparent contradiction inherent in his material.
His works echoes the world we would like to inhabit: a world dominated by beauty and an awareness of nature. The curve, as opposed to the straight line, recalls a gentler, less severe universe where objects do not repel, but embrace, where dialogue is always possible and agreement is always found.
“In our day the supposed contradistinction between illusion and reality seems to have vanished, has been absorbed into an intangible virtual reality. The reality in the works by Schuppers only exists thanks to his painterly imagination; it is evoked and surpassed rather than imitated. The illusion has transposed itself. The illusion in the work of Schuppers may indeed still exist by the grace of the ‘paint tissue’ that simultaneously keeps it at a distance, but his work has the aura of modern-day hi-tech. The latter is primarily due to the use of fluorescent colour, which is not inspired by the light of nature or by the religious light that comes ‘from above’, but by the artificial light of monitors.”