By Henry James (1896) in which “the figure” becomes a metaphor for discovering the secret meaning or intention of an author’s work. In our context it evokes the image of particular places that call for our attention. What does a place do to us throughout its history and the time we spend there?
All three artists are in some way concerned with what certain places do with us, and how this can be made present or tangible in their painting. Mathieu Cherkit works with places in the home of his grandparents where he now lives. Arjan van Helmond is looking for ordinary places that we run into daily and may not notice because of their commonness. Marenne Welten works in series, each time researching a specific place.
In her gouaches Marenne Welten (1959) creates emotionally charged scenes with figures that belong to a place and at the same time do not seem to fit in. They are awkward and sometimes self-conscious. Some places are more recognizable than others. Most are interiors of homes. Her manner of painting appears impulsive yet thoughtful. The images are dreamlike yet they are grounded in some reality that Welten has uncovered in her explorations. The tensions she creates make her work suspenseful.
Mathieu Cherkit (1982), who has shown before at the gallery, works from his home and with everything he encounters around him in the space that is home for him. That makes his work highly personal. For The figure in the carpet he has produced a series of oil pastels on paper. Like in his paintings he layers the works, rendering them thick and colorful. They zoom in on details and thus draw the viewer into his personal sphere. By offering a variety of perspectives and a mix of abstract elements, and diptychs, he invites us into his world.
Arjan van Helmond (1971) paints ordinary spaces and objects, and by giving them his full attention, he puts them in a different perspective. His work is fragmented, by the use of different angles of the object and by the use of different pieces of paper. In this exhibition various floors are on view. We walk on floors daily, but do we really notice them, their structures and their patterns? Ordinary as floors are, as van Helmond places them on the foreground they become the subject. As he tells himself, he lets the real thing work in on him, then distances himself and let things happen while working. His works on paper show rich patterns, and contain intriguing color combinations. The floors become worlds in and of themselves.