Galerie Gabriel Rolt announces Uncontrolled Substances, Niels Shoe Meulman’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Over the last few years, Shoe’s artistic expression has radically changed. Rooted in his graffiti background, and achieving ultimate extensions of his calligraphic past, Shoe’s most recent works carry the traces of manual skills and techniques, that refer to letters and calligraphic shapes. The new paintings, however, express something completely new. Inspired by artists like Cy Twombly or Christopher Wool, Shoe’s approach to his formal language changed radically towards abstractism: the strictness and precision are now entirely gone, creating possibility for different shapes to find their own form.
The free brushes of paint, applied with strength and energy, come alive like overgrown grass; like wild trees or plants, the strokes of paint seem to expand on the canvas’ surface, moving, growing freely and uncontrolled. seemingly uncoordinated,the parallel with a natural world is not accidental; not only do the apparent patterns remind us of uncultivated gardens, they are actually made concrete using flora’s artificial reproduction. Experimenting with mediums, Shoe started to often employ fake plants instead of brushes, creating a directness with new, interesting effects on the fabric and conceptually linking the formal resemblances of the patterns with the instrument itself.
Encountering different textures and oscillating colors, the metallic and iridescent paint seems to softly explode on the surface of the canvas, its shiny gleam invests the viewer’s gaze almost like a surge. The richness of colors and shades encounters movement, accentuated by the folds of the fabric, which hangs without frame on the wall. The ‘unartificial’, loose character of the canvas gives even more life to the mighty brushes, and, yet again, hints towards an uncontrolled, natural roughness.It’s exactly this discovered freedom, this looseness, which characterizes Shoe’s new body of work.
The intensity of the paint applications, which comes across almost aggressively, is combined with a deep sensitivity to beauty, creating an amorphous, bittersweet and intimidating feeling, resembling the one described as sublime by philosophers like Burke and Kant. The contrast between the roughness of the making process and the aesthetic appeal of the paintings is unsettling, and leaves the viewer with an unsatisfied longing towards comprehension; like Friedrich’s Wanderer above the sea of fog, the spectator finds himself lost in a sea of uncertainty and desires, facing the magnitude in front of her/him.
Marking a whole new chapter in the artist’s formal language, this new exhibition expresses the result of Shoe’s artistic spirit, longing to experiment and discover, leaving space for new, beautiful, uncontrolled substances to break free.
The opening of Shoe’s solo exhibition will be combined with the launch of his new book ‘Shoe is my middle name’, published by Lebowski, an overview of his works from the graffiti period that made him an international phenomenon to his latest abstract paintings.
October 15 - November 18 2016
Galerie Gabriel Rolt
1073 SE Amsterdam
Opening: Saturday October 15, 17:00- 20:30
Book signing ‘Shoe is my middle name’: 17:00-18:00