The Galerie Nicolas Robert is pleased to present Whatever Form This Moment Takes, Jim Verburg’s third exhibition at the gallery.
For now we see through a mirror, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known .
Amidst the visual noise and clutter that seems to be an increasing and inevitable part of everyday life, the work in the exhibition Whatever Form This Moment Takes offers a much needed respite, a welcomed opportunity to slow one’s gaze and enter a more self-reflective state. Aside from demonstrating a high level of rigorous technique, Verburg, through these works, subtly allows for chance and the un-calculated to reveal itself. The pieces presented here convey highly determined sense of form and composition while simultaneously defying these qualities through a radiating sense of ephemerality. It’s as if the work is reduced to a trace of its former self, inviting our eyes to focus on something that exists somewhere between the material and the immaterial - somewhere between form and spirit.
So much of what surrounds us today rarely requires more than a “surface reading”. The idea that something might lie beyond this surface is rarely even a consideration, and something that I often find myself lamenting as I look upon so much contemporary visual art. Verburg helps reacquaint us with the act of seeing, and in doing so to realize how, even though it’s something we are constantly negotiating, we take this immense responsibility for granted. The work presented here is both necessary and highly capable of helping us with and through that negotiation process. It invites us to recognize our blind spots by looking beneath and beyond the surface of things, and existence itself for that matter. They are meaningful precisely because they are profoundly concerned with this task.
The tablet-like shape of these works brings to mind the ubiquitous black-mirrored surfaces of our technological devices, reflecting us back to ourselves both literally and metaphorically. By contract, there is something essential and radically refreshing about this work which calls upon the viewer to witness both the possibility and impossibility of surface.
To stand, or to sit as the case may be, before these deceptively subtle works, that appear to be in a state of degeneration right before our very eyes, is to experience the paradox that all humans are innately engaged with - of being in the constant state of living towards death, which is the essence of consciousness itself. The creative force of these works seem to lie in their minimal aesthetic and the restraint they exude, revealing a type of erasure that implies their own negation. In doing so, they make themselves more relevant and more of an authority on what presence and existence might actually mean.
In fact, it is not so much that the viewer stands before these works as it is that the work stands between us and something other, something unknown and full of mystery, that we are gently prompted to look upon. In this transaction, the viewer is invited not only to look at, but also to look through what resembles frail pieces of parchment or even weathered textiles. One cannot help but to think about these traditional materials - paper and woven fabric, long used as vehicles of visual information, and how they fade and deteriorate over time. A frailty that even the content they convey does not entirely escape.
It is this eternal condition of frailty that permeates the work. Perhaps it is even the frailty of communication itself, and how we foolishly take for granted that communication, and the promise of understanding is somehow our indisputable birthright. All communication, even when through artistic endeavours, is like the present itself - in a constant state of flux. If it is to remain alive and vital, it is continually in need of the renegotiation that is essential for thoughtful interpretation. In the process of doing this, we ourselves reaffirm our own being in the present moment, and perhaps this is the greatest gift that this exhibition bestows upon us.