ANTWERP.- Tim Van Laere Gallery
presents the second solo exhibition of Ben Sledsens (°1991 Antwerp, lives and works in Antwerp), titled Two Trees. In this exhibition, Sledsens shows large-scale canvasses with a distinctive bright colorite in which he translates the classical themes of painting, such as portrait, still life and landscape, into his own visual language. His works are situated in Sledsens own fictional universe that transcends time and space, his own personal utopia.
Sledsens's works testify a profound knowledge of art history. His palette of strong, lively colors, high technical qualities and simple visual language exist within a long tradition that refers to great masters such as Henri Matisse, Henri Rousseau and Pieter Breughel the Elder. Nature and daily life are also important sources of inspiration for Ben Sledsens. He documents various sources of inspiration and daily life events in his small drawings. He often uses these drawings as a starting point to work out his compositions in his larger paintings. In his work Two Trees he puts several drawings together as a collage which reflects his personal world.
His large-scale canvasses seem deceptively simple due to the naïve imagery and very recognizable subjects, but behind this lies a profound thought-out composition in which Sledsens incorporates a visual storyline into his work. With this, Sledsens guides the spectator's gaze through the work, inviting us not only to consider the thoughts and motivations of the characters, but also the places and events that populate his lively and sometimes lonely scenarios. His tempting contexts seduce by intertwining multiple narratives in a single work, making the viewing that much more entranced and involved. Sledsens translates his personal subjects into poetic or romantic images, with an open beginning and ending, so that the spectator can give his own interpretation. He also places subtle links between his works through recurring motifs and characters, which contributes to the creation of his own fictional world.
In conjunction with this exhibition, the first monograph of Ben Sledsens was published by Hannibal.