Jan van der Ploeg | The Other Window
17.08.21 – 12.10.21
Starkwhite is pleased to welcome Jan van der Ploeg and present his first solo exhibition with the gallery, The Other Window.
Over the past 30 years, Dutch artist Jan van der Ploeg has sustained an investigation into abstraction, geometry, and perception. He has produced more than four hundred site-sensitive wall paintings in museums, galleries, corporate, public, and private spaces internationally as well as pursuing a painting practice on canvas.
For his inaugural Starkwhite exhibition the artist has chosen to create an immense wall work some 14 metres long and 4 metres high, the extent of the gallery’s longest wall. This black on white multi-band art work features identically sized horizontal bars. Contained at each extremity and also at its centre by a vertical post, this strictly divided space is simultaneously barricade and porous membrane. If, as Gordon Walters believed, “… dynamic relations are most clearly expressed by the repetition of a few simple elements”, here the proportions and visual axes of the architecture collide with an absence of complication to create a painting of stark potency. These hybrid object–infrastructure works draw on early pure Abstraction and through scale, presence, rhythm and contrast alter our experience of space. At the intersection of minimalist painting and architectural intervention, van der Ploeg’s hard edged and geometrical wall paintings embrace a structured format that intentionally engages the space and visitors to the exhibition.
The wall painting is accompanied by several of Jan van der Ploeg’s paintings that embrace the dualistic qualities of the gestural and the geometric. His characteristically colourful and bold yet harmonious painting practice explores different compositional variations through a highly refined vocabulary of motifs. These dynamic images draw on clean-cut geometric forms to create push–pull and positive–negative relationships within the work. Oscillating between content and form, these precise geometric compositions and hard edged shapes might offer swooping lines, protracted teardrop shapes, or elongated ellipses that suggest 3-dimensionality but remain flat on the canvas. Alternating between full coloured fields on neutral backgrounds and empty elements on coloured backgrounds, van der Ploeg plays with positive-negative relationships to challenge hierarchies of content and form. Referencing a broad range of art historical sources from Renaissance architecture to Māori weaving techniques via minimalism and Islamic tile design he draws widely, collapsing art forms and traditions into starkly compelling non-objective paintings.