Robert Nicol (UK), Olphaert den Otter


25 April – 17 May 2015

Robert Nicol (1980, UK) uses acrylic on perspex to paint in a direct way minutely detailed landscapes and interiors in which the spectator will soon discover absurd and grotesque elements. Minuscule men are busy hoisting a lump of ice or lugging an oversized hamburger. Sometimes the image can also take a dark turn.

For instance in the still life of an artist’s palette that, apart from little blobs of paint, also has a tiny severed head on it. By using these absurdities, Nicol creates a distance that allows him to put everyday reality into perspective. He draws on art history as well as popular visual culture in his work.

Rather than creating an absurd world in order to deal with reality, Olphaert den Otter (1955) uses photographs of disasters and destruction from the daily news. On paper, in small format he minutely paints destructions caused by man through wars, exploitation or negligence in his series World Stress Painting.

If a visual angle is too photographical he sometimes adjusts the image or he omits evidence of human presence, such as a shoe or a child’s bike, to avoid becoming anecdotal. To a certain extent this creates a neutral and absolute depiction that, despite the destructive charge of the image, turns out to possess a fascinating beauty of its own.