Hamish Morrison Galerie is delighted to present its second solo exhibition of works by Dutch artist Han Schuil.
Han Schuil creates paintings on aluminium boxes that penetrate the exhibition space in their three-dimensionality. He once called aluminium the best foundation for painting because it greatly increases the intensity of the colours. Schuil works with great care and precision, both in terms of the technical aspects of his production, and the development of his visual vocabulary.
The artist finds his motifs in the everyday world: a building, a cartoon eye, the shape of a star, a mask – things that he sees and isolates in an intuitive, unplanned process, translating them into a new reality. This translation can sometimes lead to such a concentration that it results in a monochrome plane of colour.
The latest series of works, entitled Heat, opens up a new world in Schuil’s oeuvre. Whereas in earlier works, he tended to use signs and symbols, pictures of images firmly established in the general consciousness, in this series he uses motifs that stem from a more technical and scientific context. Heat XII makes us think immediately of a heat picture of thermal image: aren’t we seeing an upside-down thermography of a human body? The less figurative works such as Heat VIII, Heat IX, or Heat X also bring to mind warmth, light, or vibration. Even without knowing the titles, the almost perceptible pulsing of the colours communicates an energetic process. It is seldom that Schuil gives his paintings titles, so the fact that these works do have titles underlies the new direction he is taking. This fresh development in respect to motifs is consistent with an expansion of his painterly means, in terms of technique, as Schuil is now also using spray paint.
The evoked warmth of the pictorial representation stands in dynamic contrast to its material base. The elusive qualities of light and vibration unfold on the glossy-smooth surface of aluminium and the rigorous, controlled form of the rectangle or square. The ambivalence of a seemingly technical product and artistic artefact also applies to the motifs. Frequently the underlying aluminium is revealed, either because the sides are left unpainted or because in the lower part there are bars without any paint, reminiscent of eliminated or perhaps obscured text passages. As they appear so regularly, these lower bars, together with the rectangles in the paintings’ upper-half, make us think of a kind of production mark. Or is it a kind of tag, a mark, a signature?
On many levels there are exciting fields of tension in Han Schuil’s paintings. The images and signs from our collective image memory, and the markings that seem to be a signature, but remain difficult to decode, are just one example of an interesting pair of opposites – and inspire us to approach these works with an open and curious mind.
Han Schuil was born in 1958 in Voorschooten, the Netherlands. He studied at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Rotterdam. He has exhibited his work in galleries and public institutions in Europe, South America, and Asia and his works are found in numerous renowned collections in the Netherlands, such as AEGON, Caldic Collectie, Wassenaar, AKZO Nobel und ABN AMRO, as well as in important museums, including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Brussels. He lives and works in Amsterdam.