Curves ahead: the work of Jan Maarten Voskuil
Last Saturday Peter Blake celebrated his 50th birthday at his namesake gallery in Laguna Beach. Milestone birthdays have a way of causing us to re-evaluate our lives, and the world around us. It is in this vein that the work of Dutch artist Jan Maarten Voskuil was a fitting centerpiece to the event.
The archetypal painting gives no acknowledgement to the canvass it’s created on, it serves as background and is meant to be regarded (if it is regarded as all) as a mere substrate to the art work. But what if the humble canvass were to emerge from its circumstance and take center stage? Voskuil answers this question by creating stretched linen surfaces for his minimalist paintings that curve, twist, tuck or violently jut out from the wall causing us to reconsider what we thought we knew about the canvas.
One of my favorite aspects of architectural sculpture (although these are paintings more than anything else) is when the materials belie the effect of the work. Large monochromatic circles on a white background look like paper that has been haphazardly cut with scissors, curved and pinched canvasses have an upholstery-like feel to them. The natural linen and roughly cut wood frames occasionally glimpsed from the side contradict the clean, modern work. The paintings are reminiscent of color-field artist Ellsworth Kelly yet with an irreverence for the boundary between painting and sculpture.
It is nice to know that birthdays can still bring something unexpected, like the elegant paradigm-bending work of Jan Maarten Voskuil.
Images courtesy of the Peter Blake Gallery and by Jared Millar
Peter Blake Gallery: 435 Ocean Avenue, Laguna Beach, (949) 376-9994