Sean Kelly, Los Angeles
November 11, 2023 – January 13, 2024
PR: Sean Kelly is delighted to present A Harmony Parallel to Nature, the first solo exhibition of Ilse D’Hollander at Sean Kelly, Los Angeles, and her first exhibition on the West Coast. Spanning the entirety of her career 1989–1997, the exhibition presents a survey of paintings and works on paper drawn from the artist’s estate including To Goethe, 1991, one of only three known serial bodies of work made by the artist. This remarkable selection of paintings emphasizes the lyrical and metamorphic character of D’Hollander’s oeuvre — qualities inherent to the processes found in nature that influenced her approach as a painter. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, November 11, from 5-7pm.
A Harmony Parallel to Nature, takes its name from an excerpt found in a letter Paul Cézanne wrote to one of his dear friends in the 1890s. In it, Cezanne proclaimed that art should be a “harmony parallel to nature,” as opposed to an imitation of nature. In his estimation, the artist was not to be bound by notions of representing reality, but rather, to consider the ways in which the viewer can develop their own interpretations. As a painter, D’Hollander’s intuition led her to arrive at a practice that combined total abstraction with discernable elements of the natural world. The subject matter of her paintings encompasses bursts of thick pigments suggesting the nuances of the ever-changing landscapes of the Flemish countryside to the geometric configurations of the interior of her studio. Ilse D’Hollander’s highly poignant body of work demonstrates a profoundly developed sense of linear compositions, intense shifts in color, and richly textured surfaces. Through the use of a sophisticated palette in her pared-down compositions, D’Hollander’s paintings highlight the rich dialogue between representation and abstraction. Her canvasses invite viewers to become immersed in the work, in which layers of paint bring out the subtle changes of hue, visible brushstrokes, and trembling lines of color with a humanistic touch revealing D’Hollander’s tangible and sensual exploration of the medium.
In the only extant text D’Hollander is known to have written about her work, she observed, “a painting comes into being when ideas and the act of painting coincide. When referring to ideas, it implies that as a painter, I am not facing my canvas as a neutral being but as an acting being who is investing into the act of painting.” It is through this investment that the artist was able to expertly cross back and forth between the subtly representational and the purely abstract, between her interior and exterior realms. Her work provokes extended contemplation and exists as a remarkable testament to the fundamental and generative act of painting.