The Future is Coming (and Going)

Ronald Versloot

paintings, work on paper

17 February through 18 March 2018

Ronald Versloot (1964) enjoys playing with the conventions of painting. The age-old Figur – Grund Problem is central to this practice: how does one connect the human figure with the background of the painting? Versloot zooms in on this issue by using stencils to paint people onto his canvases. Many of the figures are based on 19th and early 20th century photographs featuring people and carriages. This gives the impression of looking back in time. The figures stand out clearly against the flowing background and thus define the image. The basis of Will-o’-the-Wisp is a dark, deep blue layer of lacquer on top of which Versloot has painted a white, milky layer, in which the silhouettes of a man and a street light are saved out.

Man and street light consequently consist only of darkblue nothingness. In other paintings the background partially overlaps the foreground (not the other way around), and the templates of human figures have been reused several times, without you being aware of it directly. This subtle game he plays with image conventions is subservient to the paintings’ narrative component that often carries a certain degree of suspense. They are images frozen in time in which the human figures define the image and provide clues. It is for the viewer to interpret and organize, like the man with the oversized draft horse in Cultivate who tries to bring order into the chaos of the background.