Disillusioned Thinker – Francis van Hout
In Disillusioned Thinker Francis van Hout revisits his post-earthquake work, further abstracting forms and utilising knowledge and techniques developed over the years since.
The initial simplifying and flattening belies the works’ depth, humour and careful attention to composition. Though created digitally, these paintings retain humanistic, painterly details, such as in the deliberate retention of brush strokes and variations in the surface which balances the digital visual language with geometric abstract oil painting.
Van Hout fills his artworks with playful dark humour and references to art history, city making and himself. Architectural forms are reminiscent of the post-earthquake slab architecture being erected across the city. Artists such as Henri Matisse and Gordon Walters are referenced, but most often van Hout references himself – these works look back to his 2014 Every Tom, Dick and Harry series. In poking fun at the artist and the world around him, these works are, in a way, constructed self-portraits, entertaining the idea that the ‘thinkers’ in the titles are both himself and the viewer.