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Why Patterns? Dutch artist Bas Geerts exhibits at Galerie Gabriel Rolt in Amsterdam
Bas Geerts, 181013, 2013. Aluminum, graphite and acrylics on wall, 185 x 945 cm.

By: Steven van Grinsven

By: Steven van Grinsven

AMSTERDAM.- Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism seem to have struck an understanding for ‘Why Patterns?’, Bas Geerts’ forthcoming exhibition at Gabriel Rolt. Methodological and scientific computer generated imagery clashes with the freedom with which aluminium, brass and pigments are allowed to merge, mingle and mix to conjure up a new series of paintings and prints for the artists’ first solo presentation with the gallery.

When addressing the work of Geerts it is a relatively small leap to the work of Feldman. Interlocking parallelogram’s create the base support for large scale abstract canvasses that ooze light and practically seem to absorb matter. There are movements, pauses and moments of silence, much like as with his musical counterpart. Big brassy bold works, macho even, with their alchemic trickery, seem to be suspended in time and space, pushed forward only by our sensory experience of them. Geerts seems to be antagonising his audience at will by sharply contrasting his muted palette with heavy-handed materials. Suggestions and allusions tumble over another, clouding our reading of these works, steeped in apparent grandeur, before woefully admitting to their own inconclusiveness in providing a finite answer in the way they should be interpreted.

If nothing is transfixed then it is not the scientist but the philosopher we are faced with. With algorithms providing the structure for the work, it is not the composer but the musician at play here. Theoretical barriers here are set up, not for us, but for Geerts himself, providing focus to these complex works with their fragmented picture planes. The artist pushes forward within these voluntary constraints, continually dislodging preconditions about the finite by proving infinity time and time again. A wheel is only a wheel if you recognise it as such, otherwise until closer inspection it is an open-ended proposition with limitedness possibilities. The parallelogram in all its rudimentary simplicity is Geerts’ wheel, the canvasses that ensue, his way of playing the composition before him, varying his tones, range and the depth with which he penetrates the surface.

In many ways language does not provide us with the appropriate tools to dissect these works, which despite their hermetical constructs are above all emotive. Their scope forces us to re-examine our own notions regarding luminosity, radiance and about the nature of depth. Geerts like Feldman sets the notation for a possible reading of his works but it is our own limitations and transgressions that give them their sense of being. These are works that invite their audience to enter them, paintings that one wanders through not stands in front of, only to find that there is plenty of light heartedness in the profound.

"The most interesting aspect for me, composing exclusively with patterns, is that there is not one organizational procedure more advantageous than another, perhaps because no one pattern ever takes precedence over the others. The compositional concentration is solely on which pattern should be reiterated and for how long ..."

Morton Feldman

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