Toon Verhoef

recent paintings

10 January - 3 May 2015

The paintings of Toon Verhoef (Voorburg 1946) resist definition; the words to describe what they show usually remain at the tip of one's tongue. Each painting is based on a drawing that the artist has selected from dozens of small sketches and preparatory drawings. That is the drawing which 'hits the nail on the head' due to a certain detail or because of some incongruity that intrigues him. At the start of this century he found, in working with smaller-sized canvases, a way of creating a sense of those more spontaneous sketches directly on the canvas; and as a result his work took on a more unpredictable character.

Over the past year he has begun working on a monumental scale again, producing paintings that measure roughly three-by-five meters. In this exhibition, which has been organized in collaboration with Kunsthaus Baselland, that new development is being presented for the first time.

The recent paintings have a clear structure — an established plan consisting of two horizontal rows of five equal sections placed alongside each other. Within those sections we continue to see the same visual elements: a box shape and short cylinders that are hovering or falling in front of a monochrome background. The paintings have come about through a complicated process involving acrylic paint, 'membranes' of acrylic binder and very thinly applied oil paint.

Verhoef avoids dogma and questions rules. He is amazed at the still-prevalent notion that life can be controlled. It is precisely the fragmented quality and the complexity of our world that he embraces. That is why he seeks, within the structures that he has strictly imposed upon himself, the point at which the elements begin to shift: "I want the image to be unstable and to go adrift. You figure things out by setting them in motion, by giving them free rein."