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ART AMERSFOORT an international exhibition exploring Mondrian’s artistic transition towards abstraction and similar shifts within artists today 17 April - 10 May 2015

Galerie Archipel Amersfoort, the Netherlands

One hundred years ago Mondrian exhibited his first abstracted paintings in Holland: the Pier & Ocean series. Contemporary artists from around the world were invited to submit images for this juried exhibition in 2015 – in Mondrian’s birthplace: Amersfoort. Their work reflects how they are inspired by Mondrian, either directly or in terms of the artist's transition from representational to abstract work. Edited by Dianna Beaufort, art historian

Brut Carniollus lives and works in Radovljica, Slovenia The series is based on exploration of a tessellation diagram, a computer generated grid created by recursively executing a random split on a parent rectangle area with a ‘dust-line’ (random directional dot cluster progression), along a randomly selected split course. Portions of a grid are then hand-painted to produce the final image or a mixed media starting point is augmented with the intervention of photographic elements resulting in the final digital image. In fact the process of creating these works could easily be called Mondrian-reverse since it starts from an abstract computer-generated pattern and proceeds towards non-abstraction (or at least less abstract) by incorporating photographic images. I am a visual artist who creates digital collages based on photography and computer generated graphics executed as original large format digital UV prints.

Brut Carniollus has exhibited in Slovenia, Bangladesh, Russia, France, the USA and won various online competitions

Joanne Ernsten lives and works in Sydney, Australia Whilst not consciously thinking of Mondrian in making these works, the premise of this show made reflect on our similarities in theoretical/formal approach and was made to acknowledge the philosophical influence of one of the grandfathers of modern art into my own aesthetic. Mondrian was interested in abstracting line in an attempt to reduce pictorial form to ideas of a basic order that underpins the visible world. This kind of reduction to the essentials or the elements has also always underscored my own practice. I aim for a simple story plainly told but with layers of meaning that hopefully engage different audiences – as Mondrian said: The surface of things gives enjoyment, their interiority gives life. The Room series is based on responses to searching for a suitable new home for my elderly father. Glaringly the necessities and absolute requirements for living comfortably dwindled as he gradually moved on to respite care – with each move we, his children, had to make decisions about what he really needed to keep in terms of material objects and comforts within the confines of each new reduced living space. Priorities were simplified to the basic necessities – light, space and movement – within an institution that had its own practical prerequisites: cleanliness, access and low maintenance. Ultimately by my father’s last move, the basic needs and treasures were able to fit into a small cupboard next to the bed until all vestiges of the individual were consumed by generic needs.

Jo Ernsten has exhibited in Australia and internationally, and her work is included in institute collections

Justyna Pennards-Sycz lives and works in Amersfoort, the Netherlands The period in which Mondrian turned towards abstraction is his most fascinating. How would it have been to discover that we are surrounded by an abstract world? My large acrylic paintings may seem abstract, but they are figurative. They are studies into the creation of spatial reality on canvas, though without the use of traditional elements as developed throughout the history of art. The point of departure is reality. I work from photographs that represent something real, yet always have something deviant or unsettling about them: images of Japan after the tsunami, underwater landscapes or forests that become magical with sunlight streaming through the trees. These source materials transform during the painting process into abstract elements, as background or motif. The extent to which they remain ‘figurative’ or recognizable becomes irrelevant, as they are subordinate to the creation of a new whole: the final painting. Justyna Pennards-Sycz has exhibited in the Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, France, USA and Austria

Kees Ouwens lives and works in Shikoku, Japan These drawings are a combination of Japanese sumi-e and European painting traditions. When I draw I first make patterns on paper using sumi-ink. After the patterns are created I use black liner or a design pen to create forms and lines which are then coloured with acrylic paint. I try to find the best paper/materials available, so in Japan I have access to washi and in Mexico handmade paper to make sure that the drawings will last long in a good condition. Nature supplies me with all the inspiration I need. In making the work I am always seeking to find the balance between myself and nature. Born in Amersfoort, I went to Japan 34 years ago to study abstract Japanese garden construction. Having grown up in this city I have always loved Mondrian’s work, have had the privilege of exhibiting in the Zonnehof (a building by Mondrian contemporary Rietveld), and designed and constructed the Japanese Garden at the Amersfoort Zoo. Kees Ouwens has exhibited in Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Italy, USA and the Netherlands

Clarissa Picolo lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil While I started drawing at a young age, circumstances caused me to drift from this particular path for a long time. Only after carrying out a game development project and studying Modernism and the artists of this period did I realize that there are many concepts that I wanted to express – not with words, but through pictures. I started studying and drawing as if it were my beginning. While struggling to find a style I felt comfortable with, I found inspiration in many artists; one of those was Mondrian. The use of simple shapes and colours to express ideas gave me the strength to simplify the way I saw things. And to build on shapes. Today the drawings are kept as clean as possible, so as to prioritize the idea being conveyed. Clarissa Picolo has exhibited in Brazil and now the Netherlands

Laus Heezemans lives and works in Driebergen, the Netherlands Representing an idea – that is, an abstract concept like freedom or humanity – can only be achieved by giving shape to a feature of its expression. In my work I am often striving to capture and express a tangible aspect of an idea. In Identity/Self-Portrait the idea has become tangible form. A cube is a structure of rationality. It is a constructed and formal shape, an abstraction in the extreme, devoid of expressivity or meaning. By physically making a cube out of unconventional material, by manipulating its surfaces or by placing it in an unexpected context, it becomes something. With minimal interventions into its body, it gains meaning and therefore expression. My work looks at gradations of abstraction. I reference (or don’t reference) objects to give voice to an idea. An object can be reduced to its elementary form, be made unrecognizable and elicit curiosity: what is it, what does is represent, is it man or animal, male or female? And when objects are put together, do they attract or repel each other? The sculptures express the process of abstraction itself; they both reveal and conceal. Laus Heezemans has exhibited all over the Netherlands

Yehurdit Englard lives and works in Tel-Aviv, Israel In making my way as an artist in the beginning, I was introduced to Mondrian and noticed the manner in which he abstracted figurative forms (like the tree) and dissected things, while maintaining the proportions and symmetry. Even in nature, a tree in autumn – completely naked – is very close to Mondrian’s abstract tree. It was a defining experience for me. I believe in the power of line to build Truths. Abstraction for me is a movement, as the elements that are in constant motion, like clouds, trees, waves and wind. My works are trying to touch life and nature, and discover them. My ‘scenes observed’ are anchored in experiences and rooted in the existential experience. My style is characterized by an expressive abstract language, free and open, large colour surfaces and rich colours. The paintings oscillate between reality and imagination. They reflect the scene of battles between man and his environment, the constant tussle which has shaped his relationship with his environment, with others, with the world around him and himself. All of these are abstractions of human existence itself. Yehurdit Englard has exhibited in Israel, the USA and England

Sylvia Pennings lives and works in Zaragoza, Spain Our perception of reality is based on the information we collect from the world around us, as well as from our own inner world. Both consciously and inadvertently, we absorb, select and filter all facts and details from all the information available to us. Like a puzzle of minute pieces with an innumerable amount of combinations to form an image. This process turns reality into a personal experience. The world as we know it. Like Mondrian’s evolution from figurative to non-figurative painting, I am seeking to express the essence of reality. Not necessarily one reality, but the unique realities of each and every one of us. Variable and diverse, stemming from knowledge gathered from obtainable information, available facts, and individual interpretations. Based on an observed reality, the landscapes I paint represent a personal world. They are synonymous with the world we live in; a representation of a vital space constructed by visual perception and acquired experiences. Mondrian was searching for absolute abstraction in order to approach the fundamental and find the truth. In my own way, I am also following this path, trying to organize lines and forms into a composition that results in a landscape, space or situation. Similar to Mondrian, I am trying to achieve a balance of disparate, but equivalent oppositions; expressed by a rhythm of lines, a sequence of shapes, creating a visual space where we can enter and experience our own realities. Sylvia Pennings has exhibited in the Netherlands and Spain and won several honourable mentions and prizes.

Anna Belleforte lives and works in Amersfoort, the Netherlands I have always been interested in line as a basic form that has the power to communicate much, through its quality, quantity, form and even volume. Mondrian’s use of line moved from figurative outlining to expressionist dashing to cool abstraction. While he increasingly moved towards reductionism (or distilling essence), my process involves intensification by multiplying, highlighting or extending lines and angles (and also distilling essence). Finding the ‘line’ between representation and abstraction excites me. My series of aerial perspectives emerge from deeply rooted desires for overview, play and construction. By building and layering with lines and colours, I play with shapes and forms and with the dynamics of perspective. Images of actual cites are often the starting point, but in building up the painting, a new place emerges. My work is aesthetically diverse, from painting and collage to three-dimensional wood/textile work, so I often work in series as a way to explore ideas and fascinations. Underlying this is a unifying theme: the built environment and its textures, contrasts, stories and impact on us. Anna Belleforte has exhibited in the Netherlands, Canada and online

Florence Alfano McEwin lives and works in Green River & Meeteetse, Wyoming, USA As a child, viewing a Mondrian retrospective at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, there was an intimacy within the work that spoke to me. Much later, after internalizing his work I came to appreciate the balance of unequal symmetry and the drama of simple white and black presented directly but with refined elegance. Within my prints, the white of the page is balanced by the intense black of printer's ink. Thematically the work celebrates femaleness, taking Mondrian's analytical compositions into the realm of the metaphoric with a touch of irony and humour. My work, through materials and application, re-contextualizes my pleasures of childhood – paper dolls, books and puzzles. They are made with a very serious devotion to play. These works are photo intaglios which use an appropriated film still, manipulated for printing and then altered with the addition of chine-collÊ so that each print within a small edition is markedly singular. They are made as variable editions, so essentially each is a sort of monoprint. Florence Alfano McEwin has exhibited in England, Japan, China, Brazil, Italy, all over the USA and is professor of art at Western Wyoming College

Erna de Vries lives and works in Mount Hope, Ontario, Canada As I portray aspects of our urban industrialized landscape, I am reminded of the complexities that creation can present: powerful, majestic, harmonious yet vulnerable, fragmented and broken. These characteristics provide inspiration and become my reality. I work in acrylic, mixed media and encaustic, and am drawn to the later for the luminous appearance and unpredictable challenges of the wax. Concrete forms the foundation for my artworks and reclaimed metal is strategically incorporated. I photograph my urban surroundings, manipulate the images on the computer and transfer the printed images between layers of wax. The composition of “Somewhere to Grow” was influenced by the vertical and horizontal lines used by Mondrian. As the transition from representation to abstraction is a continuing theme in his work, likewise “Somewhere to Grow” reflects environmental changes and the need to continually adapt and change. In an urban society where concrete often dominates, the tree, created with reclaimed metal survives in harmony with industry yet reminds me of our responsibility to be stewards of creation. Erna de Vries has exhibited in Canada, the USA and now the Netherlands.

Pipit Yamamoto lives and works in Kurume, Japan My favourite thing to do as a child was to draw pictures. My childhood dream was to become a witch. I realize now that the dream came true in my art world because I am, like a witch, freely making, mixing and creating magical worlds in my work. I always create when I am in a zone; I must feel the pulse of my soul – I call it ‘pulse-ism’. While living in New York I had the opportunity to see many Mondrian works and it had a great influence on me. His art is impressive for its boldness, simplicity and daring. Pipit Yamamoto has exhibited in Japan, the USA, Spain, Italy, France and more, including many solo exhibitions and artworks that have been featured on CD jackets and posters.

Gary Schmitt lives and works in Indianapolis, USA My work usually tells stories that are connected with the objects and combination of objects as they relate to my family history. As well as being forms that interest me, they also contain emotional content representing conflict, tension, and struggle. Making these objects in monochrome wool is a choice I make to reduce the object to an emphasis of its form. The wool also serves to transform the context and meaning of the objects: untrimmed fibres and non-rigid surfaces physically alter the representation of familiar objects and edges. I sculpt with a barbed needle using a dry felting process. The actual objects are not wrapped inside the wool and the objects are not pressed into a mould. In the process of making this new work, with notions of Mondrian’s transition from figurative to abstract art in the back of my mind, I found myself adapting my usual approach. I came to discover and understand: the new approach was transforming me as well as my work towards abstraction. I have enjoyed this process as it has given me a new perspective on my own work. Gary Schmitt has exhibited in the USA and China

Ida Rödén lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden These drawings are part of a larger project dealing with artist Michael Heizer’s eternal project “City” near Yucca Mountain, Nevada. He began construction in 1972 and has not yet finished. It is possibly the largest piece of contemporary art ever attempted. The site is closed to visitors. Heizer owns all property around the work and has marked the access with a sign that prohibits trespassing. “City” is not meant for this lifetime, but for future generations. The day it is finished will be a day when the artist is no longer around to answer any questions. It is not for today but for the ages. The ruin will forever stand in silence: “Who then, she continues, tells a finer tale than any of us? Silence does. And where does one read a deeper tale than upon the most perfectly printed page of the most precious book? Upon the blank page.” - Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) The Blank Page

As an interdisciplinary artist my recent work uses processes of elaborative fabrication, historical investigation, and re-appropriation to address issues of authorship, writing about history, and the complexity of ever telling a truth. I examine how the nature of reality is unfixed and create spaces where worlds can be imagined. Using a combination of conceptual photography, drawing, creative writing, sculpture, and installation, my work shapes and blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction, reality and imagination. Ida Rödén has exhibited in Sweden, Denmark, Brazil and the USA

Judit Ladányi lives and works in Budapest, Hungary Trained as an architect at Budapest University, I understand that in architecture it is essential to consider how shapes and colours work together. The same is true for art. However, while an architect must adhere to technical specifications to achieve the desired harmony, it is absolutely liberating as an artist not to have these limitations. The style of my work has been called lyric surrealism (by art historian Dr Miklós Losonczy). I have experimented with numerous materials and techniques, including ink and encaustic, to ultimately find my individual style. Having visited the Netherlands in 1995 I became acquainted with Mondrian’s Cubist work and was especially impressed by his tree abstractions. Judit Ladányi has exhibited in Hungary and Austria

Art Amersfoort Catalogue 2015  

Mondrian inspired art show hosted by Galerie Archipel

Art Amersfoort Catalogue 2015  

Mondrian inspired art show hosted by Galerie Archipel