‘Splendid Isolation‘ exhibition & booklaunch by
opening Nov. 21 (7-9 PM)
exhibition runs until Dec. 22
Limited editions and books can be pre-ordered by e-mail.
Inspired by the classic novel Walden from H.D. Thoreau and as an exercise in authentic and conscious living, artist Nils Verkaeren made his way to Colombia. Seeking solitude and with nothing more than a few painting materials, books and provisions, he moved into an abandoned coffee plantation; a place with no electricity, just a rudimentary shelter and Mother Nature as company. His only social interaction was the result of two lengthy morning walks a week to the nearby village.
In the glow of the morning sun, he would set up a painting studio in the wild. Intuitively, he tackled large works. The result is a cerebral concentrate. As the sun passed its zenith, the forces of nature took hold, first in the form of thick mist, and later in the afternoon as incessant rain; it was time to seek shelter. For the next hours the only sound that could be heard was that of the thick drops tapping on the corrugated iron roof. Under these climatic conditions he made time for his smaller works on wooden panels. These works convey the melancholic mood of the moment; they are mostly marked by a dark and threatening atmosphere, which intermingles with the shades of colour. On the other hand, the larger works were developed under the sun’s guidance, and therefore are more cheerful in terms of the palette.
Hilde Van Canneyt 2018
This project shows how this artist knows how to relate to nature in an almost religious way. Religion, as the early Christian writer Lactantius stated, comes from religare and that is good binding, reconnection. At a time when the earth is under pressure and nature is being violated, the work of Nils Verkaeren can be seen more broadly than l’art pour l’art by Théophile Gautier, it is more than the most individual expression of the most individual emotion of Willem Kloos. . In his work Verkaeren not only shows us himself, he allows us to reflect and experience in an emotional way how we face nature. His work is also a warning, but one without slogans. Just a call for reflection.
Daan Rau, 2018
Nils Verkaeren’s undertaking resulted in 6 works on canvas, 40 small works on panel and the making of a sketchbook. All these works are on view in the exhibition at Kusseneers Gallery and published in a book.