Gallery Talk

Swan Song

21 February · Admin
Swan Song

Abstract art may exacerbate the question of fantasy but in no sense has the monopoly on it. Any art, figurative or not, engages the spectator in fantasy and projection; no work of art of any interest possesses a single meaning which is then divulged to the correctly viewing subject.
—Briony Fer in On abstract art, 1997

The works in F. van Hout’s Swan Song invite the viewer in with familiar abstract territory, giving way to a delightful depth and movement.

Earth and flesh tones are captured through a bridging of abstract painting’s various languages. Soft hazy grounds surround the defined edges while translucencies recede and pull the forms. Stripped and reworked layers give a textural depth to the finished surface, as ghostly forms of previous painted or planned iterations show through in the final works.

One can trace these paintings through F. van Hout’s various bodies of work shown at City Art Depot. As he did in Painted Red Paintings and the Every Tom, Dick and Harry works, he returns to geometric forms, drawing from underlying facial shapes. However, instead of attaching shapes to the frame of each image, here he suspends them in space. This more challenging sense of balance was explored in the abstract fields he painted in 2017’s de void.
These mixed surfaces combine methods of abstraction, such as the scraping of Gerhard Richter, with the geometric language of Russian suprematists like Kasimir Malevich. An obsessive performance of repainting, reworking, retexturing brings each piece to its final staging – or swan song.

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