Our Spectral Gardens
Frank Van den Broeck
12-10 through 05-11-2023
Finissage Sunday 5 November 13:00 – 17:00 hours, the artists are present
Our Spectral Gardens presents a new series of paintings by Scottish artist Janice McNab (1964). These futuristic landscapes are based on the design of a scarf that belonged to the artist’s mother. Its 1950’s floral patterns have been transformed into painted hills of silk inhabited only by bodies drawn as aloe vera leaves pierced with cocktail sticks. The animals and birds that can be seen in some works are really the painted shadows of the artist’s own hands. Like ghost images, they point to the ecological issues of our time and our distorted relationship with nature. These spectres weave through the patterns of the past as ecological anxieties, but the artist’s choice to explore this through the personal motif of the scarf has resulted in paintings that also push for joy through these fractured vistas.
Our Spectral Gardens is an outcome of the artist’s research into The Ten Largest Paintings (1907) by the pioneer of abstract painting Hilma af Klint (1862-1944). McNab traces the previously unknown influence of historic Swedish folk textiles within this now famous work, finding traces of embroidered plant designs in af Klint’s paintings – nature was at the heart of af Klint’s artistic journey and desire to understand the forces behind life on earth. Janice McNab’s Our Spectral Gardens also have their roots in an inherited fabric and bring this historical research into the artist’s studio and into the present.
Janice McNab obtained her PhD from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. Her study on Hilma af Klint is included in the catalogue to the exhibition Hilma af Klint & Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life, formerly on view at the Tate Modern and from 7 October 2023 to 25 February 2024 at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. More info at www.kunstmuseum.nl
Frank Van den Broeck (1950) exhibits sculptures, drawings and photographs in Fire and Fiction, now on show at Museum Beelden aan Zee, Scheveningen. Van den Broeck, draughtsman par excellence, gradually came to sculpture around 1998 through the scratches and nicks that were accidentally formed in the process of drawing. He perceived the nicks in the paper as incisions, making him aware of the possibility to explore the spatial and sculptural.
This resulted in small sculptures in clay in which the figuration gradually emerges, similar to his drawings in which forms and figures tend to reveal themselves gradually. In his earliest sculptures, the artist’s hand is often explicitly present as a claw or a fist that can transform into a face or a head. In 2015 the Centraal Museum Utrecht purchased several of his sculptures and, with support by the Mondriaan Fund, granted him the opportunity to further develop his spatial work. The gallery is now exhibiting sculptures in clay and bronze along with drawings that give context to the sculptures.
Fire and Fiction is on show until 22 October at Museum Beelden aan Zee.
more info at www.beeldenaanzee.nl