"My work consists of monumental paintings with a specific visual language. A recurring theme in my work is nature in its artificial form, as we know for example from zoos and natural history museums. Or the way landscapes and animals were presented through art history in fairy tales or movies. My work is full of art and cultural-historical quotations.
In 2011, I made the 'Kempen' series at the Frans Masereel Centre: large-scale collages of woodlands in black and white made up of dozens of monotypes made from branches, twigs, leaves and bark. I repeated the same process during my residency, only this time round I also used tropical plants printed in sap green. The end result is made up of collages of dark forests in black and white with a green lit greenhouse between the trees. The works were intended as a continuation and in-depth exploration of the forms and topics of the paintings and collages I have made over the years around greenhouses and winter gardens.
I not only wanted to suggest the lush vegetation but also depict the greenhouse itself, its sleek steel construction and dripping and moss-covered glass panes bathing in mysterious light. The only way to achieve this was to spend a few weeks conducting concentrated and purposive experiments with monotypes. Some of the works show insects, small wood engravings made using the laser cutter. The lines for the construction of the greenhouses have been rendered in rigorous fashion to produce a marked contrast between the lush organic interior world and the taught architectonic contours.
This resulted in monumental works showing artificial worlds that conjure up a mystifying atmosphere. Artificial Shangri-Las which, more often than not, are nightmarish in feel: brooding, menacing and mysterious. They will be put on display as part of the GREENHOUSE exhibition set to run from April until August 2015 at the National Botanical Gardens in Meise.
It has been a labour-intensive time throughout, which I look back on with a great deal of satisfaction. Thanks to the various residencies I spent at the Masereel Centre, my graphic works are an essential part of my artistic practice, which is on a par with my painted work. I would go so far as to say that, thanks to my residencies at the Masereel Centre, I really got the graphic bug and the wealth of visual opportunities it has to offer. I like to think that my large collages constitute a fresh and modern-day approach to graphic art which I am keen to explore further."
13.10.2014 - 21.11.2014