It can feel unsettling to discover works by an artist that differ from expectations. Especially when the art departs from a long-standing signature style so entrenched that it feels natural to inquire if the new approach might be the result of a life-changing event. But this kind of dramatic change can also stem from the decision to embrace the artist’s predilection to roam and leave the familiar behind while bringing hard-won experience to use as a guide.

Such is the case in the recent exhibition “Hans Van de Bovenkamp: In the Present Moment” at Quogue Gallery in The Hamptons. It’s best not to expect to find towering shiny abstract sculptures of burnished steel as they won’t be found. Instead, the exhibition presents a quieter and intimate side of an artist who is pushing his process in new ways while continuing to create his tried-and-true large-scale sculptures.

Commanding the viewer’s immediate attention in the front gallery are bright and large whimsical watercolors that feel like architectural renderings that were let out to play. Featuring Van de Bovenkamp’s identifiable shapes and sculptural forms as compositional centerpieces, it’s obvious the watercolors are connected to the work the artist is known for.

What’s not obvious is that the paintings are a long-standing playful part of his artist process. For the artist, picking up a paintbrush is an opportunity to capture ideas for the sculptures Hans Van de Bovenkamp is known for in a career that stretches over decades.

.

"Oracle Study (#10)" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Water Color on Paper, 37 x 60 inches. Courtesy of Quogue Gallery.

"Oracle Study (#10)" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Water Color on Paper, 37 x 60 inches. Courtesy of Quogue Gallery.

.

The watercolors differ in tone and intent from artist drawings made as sketches for sculptures or their models, mock-ups, architectural integrity explorations, idea concepting and the like. Purposefully steering away from drawing, Van de Bovenkamp gravitated to watercolor paintings, collage and paper cutting as ways to freely explore creativity, play with scale and explore contrasts and possibilities for his recurrent forms if incorporated into his three-dimensional works.

The watercolors also represent relaxed moments for the artist, where there’s no risk in bringing to fruition ideas conjured with paint and paper, he said during a recent phone interview. Put simply, making towering sculptures is a team sport in which engineers, fabricators and other craftsmen have a hand in transforming art from concept to realization through a formalized and rigid set of steps, he explained. The watercolors and collages are a solo act that are free from constraints. After all, paintings and visual explorations on paper can be crumpled and tossed away without ramifications, he said.

.

"Full Size Render" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

"Full Size Render" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

,

More than the medium, it’s the color choices that can stop viewers in their tracks. Hans Van de Bovenkamp’s watercolors can feature lime green or aqua blues, subdued oranges or a range of yellows, along with turquoise, blues and grays. An artist clearly not timid with color is a surprise for one who is mostly known for works in monochromatic silver designed to capture the sun and reflect soft hues of wispy color, projected as if a natural part of the atmosphere.

“I started making them realistic but then added color because it was a fun thing to do,” he said. “I like a bit of the surreal: green skies and blue grass. Changing the color made it festive. It’s a form of play that lets me see the sculpture in a new way and where I could take it. The color is the spice, as in a dinner, and gives it a new twist.”

.

Family Outing" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Watercolor, 32 x 37 inches. Courtesy of The Quogue Gallery.

"Family Outing" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Watercolor, 32 x 37 inches. Courtesy of The Quogue Gallery.

.

The watercolors reveal a looseness that is implied in his sculptures, which make use of graceful flowing forms as his visual vocabulary. They also foreshadow Van de Bovenkamp’s new art direction:  painting.

There are four distinct bodies of work presented in “Hans Van de Bovenkamp: In the Present Moment” at the Quogue Gallery. Watercolors on paper related to sculpture; tabletop sculptures; a series of mixed media paintings that incorporate collaged elements and his newest work: abstract acrylic paintings on canvas or watercolor paper. Tying history with the future is a signature stainless steel sculpture, Lady Grace Variation #2, installed in the garden that completes the artistic journey for the show.

The mixed media paintings are a natural progression from the artist’s use of collage as “drawings” for sculptures, he said. Installed in the middle gallery, the works in the show trace the move from collage as exploration to collage and painting married as an art form. Standout works incorporate newspaper, are dark in tone and are almost somber, forming intrigue and mysteries to ponder.

.

"New York Times" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Mixed Media on Paper, 15 x 11 inches. Courtesy of The Quogue Gallery.

"New York Times" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Mixed Media on Paper, 15 x 11 inches. Courtesy of The Quogue Gallery.

.

"Weekend Arts" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Mixed Media on Paper, 11 x 15 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

"Weekend Arts" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Mixed Media on Paper, 11 x 15 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

.

Leaving the most dramatic for the furthest point from the entrance, the rear gallery presents Van de Bovenkamp’s abstract painting. These paintings reveal a brash playfulness that lets viewers know the artist isn’t afraid to move outside the lines and expectations. Hans Van de Bovenkamp has been making acrylic paintings for around two years. This is the first time the works have been exhibited.

“I was making watercolors for my sculpture so it was a natural to wonder what would happen if I started painting,” Van de Bovenkamp said. “I started working in acrylic. I like the quickness of it. I want the paintings to be free and uninhibited.”

.

"Hidden Messages" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Courtesy of The Quogue Gallery.

"Hidden Messages" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Courtesy of The Quogue Gallery.

.

Among the acrylic paintings, gallerists Chester and Christie Murray have installed tabletop sculptures as companions to the new works. The painting installation is enhanced by tabletop sculptures in bronze, aluminum or steel that visually connect the paintings and sculpture.

.

"Gateway" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp, 2014. Polished Bronze, 4.25 x 4 inches. Courtesy of Quogue Gallery.

"Gateway" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp, 2014. Polished Bronze, 4.25 x 4 inches. Courtesy of Quogue Gallery.

.

 

The pairing allows viewers to witness how gestures in sculpture translate to his paintings. It’s also easier to see how Van de Bovenkamp’s established language of recurring forms in his sculpture have informed the paintings and the watercolors installed in the front gallery.

In another link, the paintings possess an element of the sculptural. Depth is an integral part of each work and can conjure the sensation of gazing into a deepening rainbow vortex or being immersed in a whirlwind of vibrant and unexpected emerging colors.

.

"Summer Folly" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

"Summer Folly" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

.

In some paintings, sculptural forms have been transformed into gestural brushstrokes. In others, it’s the space between the forms used to create depth in his sculptures—also an integral part of his work—that also serves the same purpose in his paintings. In all, the paintings radiate confidence from the artist’s application of paint.

“He’s working like the abstract expressionists and there’s a particular motion and action in the paintings," Christy Murray said. “They are very much like his sculpture. It’s almost like you could walk into the paintings; there’s so much depth that he puts into them.”

.

"The Garden of Eden" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

"The Garden of Eden" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

.

"Magenta/Yellow Foxtrot" by Hans Von de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery

"Magenta/Yellow Foxtrot" by Hans Von de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

.

For Christy Murray, Van de Bovenkamp’s unfettered use of bright colors in unique combinations is especially transformative. Oranges are a favorite and so are hues that seem borrowed from flesh tones or hot colored lipstick. Paintings that make use of black and dark tones that seem to conjure an autumn evening in The Hamptons are equally appealing.

.

Ascending River" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Courtesy of The Quogue Gallery.

"Ascending River" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 36 inches. Courtesy of The Quogue Gallery.

.

For the Murrays, watching the paintings spring to life over the past year as the artist explores his new frontier has been an exciting time, the Murrays said. The process has allowed them to see a new art path unfold and art history being carried forward.

Hans Van de Bovenkamp said has taken to heart advice on process given by his former neighbor, Willem de Kooning. The paintings on view emphasize gestural freedom and confident brushstrokes that draw upon a lifetime of making art. The bright colors that make their way into his work—as noted, orange is a favorite—are free from typical color theory combinations, he said, and add an element of the unexpected to the paintings.

.

"Strawberry Soup" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on watercolor paper, 10.5 by 14 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

"Strawberry Soup" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Acrylic on watercolor paper, 10.5 by 14 inches. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

.

For the Murrays, discovering the paintings during a studio visit and watching a new body of work unfold—as well as getting a preview of the paintings yet to be exhibited—as de Bovenkamp pursues his new medium has been a privilege of its own.

“I believe he’s just getting started,” Christy Murray said. “It’s an exciting time.”

.

"Countdown" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

"Countdown" by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Courtesy Quogue Gallery.

.

___________________________

BASIC FACTS: Hans Van de Bovenkamp: In the Present Moment” was exhibited from July 20 to August 9, 2017 at Quogue Gallery, 44 Quogue Street, Quogue, NY 11959. www.quoguegallery.com.

Hans Van de Bovenkamp is based in Sagapaonack, N.Y. He is represented by the Quogue Gallery in The Hamptons. To see more of his art, visit www.vandebovenkamp.com.

___________________________

Copyright 2017 Hamptons Art Hub LLC. All rights reserved.

Don't miss a story!

We are on Social Networks

Comments are closed.

subscribe