Stef Driesen’s works seek a delicate balance between colour, material and scale. The faded contours dividing the pictorial space betray a versatile handling of the brush. Through a specific treatment of the paint, Driesen creates a large margin between opaque and transparent effect. The matte texture lays a velvety film on the canvas, which confers a certain sensuality to its physical presence.
Each work is gradually built up, starting from the background; each new layer creates depth. In the underlaying space, a shimmering light seems to be enclosed that subsequently breaks through intensely or is subtly muted. Despite the vertical format, the strong transcendent quality of Driessen’s paintings reminds one of romantic landscape painting, of the dramatic effect of natural light, the dynamics of the forces of nature in the work of William Turner. However, art-historical references remain intuitive rather than direct, as is the case for his entire oeuvre.
Driesen’s dense, atmospheric plains seem to incorporate a range of emotions. It is not so much the artist’s inner world that is being represented here, rather, the works look for a contemplative experience from the side of the spectator, they evoke more than they ‘express’ (in the expressionistic sense).
The exhibition includes 7 abstract works. Yet, the artist’s earlier figurative work can still be felt in the soft palette of flesh and earthy tones that is only rarely broken by intense orange or warm red, and in the monolithic, silent figures that unite fragility and monumentality.