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Vincent de Roder was born (1958) in Aalsmeer (the Netherlands) and lives and works in Wetteren (Belgium)
What does Vincent de Roder’s work do? You think spontaneously of Joseph Albers, even of Bridget Riley, her later work. You are astonished by the colours and forms. Most of his small paintings are in the same format. Some are portrait, others landscape. You don’t think about the paint or how the painting is composed. You look and you lose. These works are themselves, and compose themselves. Always happy when paintings do not have to enter into dialogue. When they are silent.
Then you approach a painting and see that the paint is enamel, you see that movements are ‘concealed’ and yet left visible beneath the colours and forms. There are patches, irregularities. There has been no attempt to achieve perfection. Confusion ensues.
Abstract art always refers to a platonic world of unearthly, rarefied, absolute, perfect forms. Not here: in this instance some work has been done. There are layers to the painting. The past is visible, is deliberately shown and in fact is itself the work of art. De Roder presents paintings where the working process is an integral part of the work. So are these paintings unfinished? By no means. But the deficiencies, the imperfection (working is not the same as creating) form the core of this work. Contemplation is possible, but above all they do in any case involve movement.
The painting method is shown, and because it is human it is not perfect. The stumbling human being is embraced. The forms are less rarefied (and thus less abstract) than they seem. They come close to us, to feelings and thoughts. There is a negation in these works, and within each work there is a counteraction, but it is not aggressive. What is shown are possibilities. Sometimes you see a beach view, the sea, sometimes you are reminded of Jean Brusselmans, the rurality of a hedge. Not that the connection with the figurative is important (or even exists), but you do experience an atmosphere of humanity and sympathy.
The most important thing is balance. There is not a single painting that is out of square: each one is composed with total deliberation. That which is left visible has a pictorial and architectonic function.
Why is it that this work summons up a sense of well-being? The forms are quiet; no, there is no shouting here. The colours are independent and do not clash with each other, but nor are they laid down next to each other the way the manuals recommend. There is the quietness of the work itself, the whole. An oeuvre that is silent, but beckons. Yet it is utterly personal as a result of its use of colour, with forms that are recognisable to everyone but which are nevertheless shown in a different way.