de void – F. van Hout
In this new series of paintings, Christchurch artist Francis van Hout de-voids the void, shattering the dark uniformity of his painted surfaces with a nebula of light and suggested movement.
In a sequel to last year’s Null and Void exhibition, van Hout extrudes light and form from the metaphoric and physical “void”, using paint, gesso, ink and shellac to suggest a cosmological beginning. Literally devoid of narrative, symbolism and figuration, these paintings nevertheless ascribe to deeply human notions of creativity, religious belief and scientific understanding.
The works in de void use meticulously applied layers of paint to evoke shifts in density and iridescent entanglement suggestive of moments of explosion, implosion, immeasurable speed and calm resolution, enacting the initial spark of an astrophysical
or quantum continuum. This flash of creation has its analogy in art, in the first brushstroke or mark-making, while the paintings themselves allude to twentieth-century non-figurative colour field painting, abstract expressionism and McCahon’s insistently luminous religiosity.
The volatility of these works and the mutability of scale is implicit in the titles: expansion, condensation, ignition, fluctuation – dramatic moments of incendiary origination.
Francis van Hout was born in 1963 in Christchurch to Dutch parents who immigrated to New Zealand in the mid 1950s. After studying photography, design and printmaking at Christchurch Polytechnic he worked as a graphic artist, photographer, animation director and technical director on a variety of film, television, multimedia projects. Returning to Christchurch he studied at the Ilam School of Fine Arts where he won the Sawtell-Turner Prize for Painting. In 2015 his work was recognised by a Merit Award in the Parkins Drawing Award and as a finalist the National Contemporary Art Award.