“A painting comes into being when ideas and the act of painting coincide.”
The Belgian abstract painter, who died by her own hand at the age of 29, Ilse D’Hollander is considered by many to be a painter’s painter. D’Hollander’s sparsely intimate compositions rely on her use of subtle tones that betray a highly developed sense of color to draw the viewer into her works. And whilst abstract in nature her works allude to the mundane, the everyday ideas provoked by her interaction with the Flemish countryside which she felt compelled to share.
As D’Hollander is reported to have written “When referring to ideas, it implies that as a painter, I am not facing my canvas as a neutral being but as an acting being who is investing into the act of painting. My being is present in my action on the canvas.”
The New York gallerist, David Nash, has quoted her as saying in a 2013 introduction “It is painting itself that always remains fundamental; with due regard for the person who is painting. The viewer who turns his gaze on my paintings remains even more fundamental.”
Ironically after her death in 1997 her work was rarely exhibited, held back from the public gaze by the executors of her estate until recently. An act that diminished the painter’s execution of her work.
For as the Faculty of Fine Arts, University College Ghent’s Helena De Preester wrote in her essay Investing in the Act of Painting: Ilse D'Hollander and the Question of Painting “D’Hollander emphasis that she acts and the viewer watches; and that both are equally fundamental, she does so because the viewers act of looking is accomplished in the trace of her movement, and in the way the viewer’s vision resumes and accomplishes her vision.”
An exhibition of over 60 paintings and works on paper by D’Hollander is currently of show at New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery until the 6th of February.