The precise, geometric abstractions of Dutch artist Jan Maarten Voskuil exist in a world entirely unto themselves. Building on the philosophies of Theo van Doesburg, a cofounder of the early 20th-century Dutch De Stijl movement that promoted pure non-objective abstraction, Voskuil creates multi-dimensional works that bridge the boundaries between painting and sculpture.
In the current show, “Jan Maarten Voskuil and Stephanie Bachiero,” at Peter Blake Gallery in Laguna Beach, Voskuil presents clean, monochromatic forms—circles and rectangles—on folded, scored, and twisted planes, alongside Bachiero’s looping sculptural forms in porcelain, bronze, and steel. Though Voskuil’s art breaks the plane into the third dimension, he sees himself as a pure painter who reaches beyond the limitations of the canvas. “They are paintings,” he has said of the acrylic-on-linen works.
In these “spatial paintings,” such as Improved Pointless Black and Improved Pointless Light Blue, both from 2014, circles are painted in a single, elementary acrylic color on linen, with wooden frames bent to curve around themselves. Simple geometry takes on an almost kinetic energy in these abstracted volumes, which appear almost to be shifting or peeling from the wall. The square is given a similar treatment in works like Squeezed Square in Thirds #12, in which the form is contorted as though seen through a funhouse mirror. Still, the focus remains on the surface in these paintings in the round. Despite the artist’s sense of humor, the work is not taken lightly. Rigorous mathematical principles govern his experiments, as does an ongoing conversation with the conventions of Minimalism, Hard-Edge painting, and other modernist schools of thought—concerns the artist and curator is drawing into the 21st century.
“Jan Maarten Voskuil and Stephanie Bachiero” is on view at Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, California, June 5–July 12, 2014.