John Hurrell – 25 August, 2021
The heavy and thunderous is a foil to the sweetly delicate and brittle. This is a wonderful finely-balanced combination: you experience two sorts of physical. One is a vista that consumes your entire field of vision. The other a group of three coloured (intricately patterned) rectangles you move towards to examine closely.
Jan van der Ploeg
The Other Window
17 August - 18 September 2021 (prelockdown)
This piece is written during the current lockdown which here in Auckland is likely to be extended. (Maybe substantially.) There is much irony in the fact that van der Ploeg’s show is about bodily experience, so this text inevitably is about guesswork. It is unabashedly speculative. Treat it with disdain or keen interest, as you please. I’m mentally riffing in front of my screen…
Dutch artist Jan van der Ploeg is well known in this country. Downstairs in Starkwhite, he is currently presenting four new works: painted directly on the long righthand wall a single stark massive architectural intervention made with four thick parallel black horizontal bars divided by one squat vertical column of the same thickness; on the left wall, opposite, three quite pretty, immaculate canvases, each featuring sliding ‘capsular’ (spherocylindrical) outlines aligned in six columns—or more accurately: five and two (outer) half-columns. Their glowing vertical perimeters ascend in a diagonally aligned formation. With the three canvases, there is some variation in the heights of the capsules.
Thus the heavy and thunderous is a foil to the sweetly delicate and brittle. This is a wonderful finely-balanced combination: you experience two sorts of physical. One is a vista that consumes your entire field of vision. The other a group of three coloured (intricately patterned) rectangles you move towards to examine closely.
The oppressive weight of the immense (14 m. long) dark ‘girders’ almost overwhelms the six captive negative spaces they contain. The floor seems to tilt down towards the solid stack. The pink, black and duck-egg-blue oblongs on the other side of the fulcrum seem to float upwards while the white skirting board underneath, two centrical cylindrical columns in the middle of the room, and the thin beading on the ceiling, prod and nudge the giant hovering but embedded ‘beams.’
Van der Ploeg has a long international history of making spectacular geometric wall murals and portable intricate grid paintings, and this exhibition seems to have him at the top of his game. The whopping painted wall stresses the visitor’s bodily spatial involvement while the smaller canvases invite mental analysis of compositional detail. Pleasurable sensations both.