Im thrilled and happy to post the interview with Hertogenbosch based Dutch Abstract Painter Gijs van Lith . I found Gijs paintings for the first time in a random Art walk in Amsterdam, first just by a simply glimpse from the gallery window i could see the massive canvas with abstract structures couldn't resist the appeal and was overwhelmed with the deept and intensity of the paintings.
Gijs van Lith was nominated for several awards and prizes, won the Amsterdam Young Art Talent in 2009 and his nominated for the 2012 Royal Dutch Painting, Gijs paintings can be seen in several exhibitions in the coming months and in private collections like Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
How do you define abstract art ?
well, personally i don’t see a difference between abstract or figurative art.
But your paintings are mainly abstract ??
Yes my works fall in that category at the moment, but I prefer not to think in those terms and cubicles.
Abstract art for me, is most of the time more pure, clear less distractions. There is more space/room for depth and its more universal. The image is sometimes more dominate and can distract the viewer. And affects the story of a artwork. But sometimes it comes together in the right way.
I’m painter, and currently my work falls within the category ‘Abstract’. But my latest works are both abstract and figurative. They’re called ‘A paintings womb’ and are the remains of painterly actions on a wall, of a artists studio. So some people will recognize this display and some won’t. But that’s oke.
I have two subjects that interest me; but my main focus lies on the paint it selves (the matter its selves, the act of painting, how color and form work, mainly the way the give depth)
The second subject is ‘painting’ it selves (the medium and ((art))history). Where do you place your selves .
So that’s why i show in the personal and introvert studio, no finished museum art piece but its womb.
Is Abstract Art a secret language of the senses?
No but maybe obscure one or language of a very few can speak. Maybe because we people have a more of a ‘you-tube mentality’, a concentration span of 3minutes. So it takes a bit a time, effort to truly see/read a painting and appreciates what the work is about. So that means you (the viewer) understands what decisions where made in the making and thinking--process till how it compare to the oeuvre and other works of the artist. And how it will position its selves with in art as well.
Because most people are used to look at a artwork, and see a more in a direct translation that represents the story. But I believe that it is more interesting to make work that doesn’t react or connect with directly to a situation within society or what is typical for a certain ‘time-geist’. I like that in a work or a series you as a viewer can see a personal development and read the steps a artist takes and appreciate the new things the artist is including in is work. And that maybe later on that symbolize as a mark for that specific time.
what do you think of the concept Abstract being " Everything and Nothing" ?
Willem de Kooning sad it best, I think.
he was looking for a form that could hold anything, nothing and something. And i believe that I’m getting closer and closer to my form that can hold anything.
How can you define that concept that your looking for ??
well, its a certain necessity, and longing urge
that sounds like Philosophy and Psychology in one sentence ?
Well making is thinking…after making, thinking and analyzing a work again and again is sort of a physical dialog with a work.
The work needs to feel right, like given the right answer the a question. It’s all in there and when you have enough right and wrong answers, you'll figgere out the question(s). But of course you have a starting point that involves your personal interest and fascinations. I’m really interested in the matter it selves, the paint. The way shape and color give depth. Also themes as mentality and time I find very interesting. In my latest two series ‘Skin’ and ‘A paintings womb’ becomes more clear. I see sometimes some similarities in my work and the way ledger is made in a shoe or coat or the rings of a tree. And I’m busy with more general and universal questions like; what is today’s position of painting?
Do you want to express and analyze yourself at the same time in your paintings. Sort of a scientist of the canvas?
No I don’t, I do recognized some parts of me, but in the process I don’t preserve the canvas as a mirror of me when I’m making.
Mark Rothko masterpieces were thought over and over as a mean to awakening of the social triviality of the daily live no to please but to shock
yes he's one of my favorites
What do you like about his work ?
his shows with great extravagance the plus-value of paint and the choice to only act as a painter. There is no other medium that he can use to represent and feel his message. Here painting is irreplaceable.
Why paint and why use paint if there are better-suited media to get your message better across.
Rothko shows that his work speaks to the soul of persons, and at the same time it symbolizes that if you paint and act only in painting, show the necessity of that specific choice.
He sometimes compares his work with a visit to a play in a theater, he sad something like; you could go the a theater but if you really wanna see a great play come and see my work.
what's you fuel ? what makes you feel wild and start painting ?
Sometimes a great show/exhibition. Sometime a good text I read, or a minder-wonder. But mainly it’s in the small things, a glimpse of a visual phenomena, when i see something out-side or in town. Colors/shapes that interest me, i see them for what they are to me, without what they represent to the rest of the world.
what is you biggest ambition as a painter ?
oeh! thats a difficult one, I ll have to call on the fifth amendment ;).
biggest ambition is: when i can say that i found the perfect answer to my question and then I’ll stop painting probably
i work normally 5/6 days a weeks
and i find about 80/90 'answers' a year, and probably about ten/twenty right ones.
After every answer is a new bigger question, so you will paint forever ?
yep;) I found some answers down the last 3 years. But much bigger ones came to follow. Which is nice and interesting how that evolves.
you have a creative and inquisitive mind that is the trade mark of a great thinker :)