Koen van den Broek
Keep it together

November 7, 2019 - January 18, 2020
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Galerie Greta Meert is pleased to present its fourth exhibition with Belgian artist Koen van den Broek. For this exhibition, the artist revisits some of the well-known motifs of his “cracks” and “hardscape” paintings. 

At first glance, these paintings depicting large architectural structures and biomorphic shapes seem to put forth a more intuitive and less controlled pictorial language than the earlier works. The vibrant colors and broad-brush strokes that construct each painting suggest a jerky rhythm that creates a sense of suspense propagating throughout the picture. 

The apparent simplicity of these quasi-schematic representations allows the artist to evoke the urban environment through lines and colors like those of the black tar strips that have long fascinated him for their calligraphic qualities. 

In order to explore the details of a cracked surface in the pavement or the marks left by the tires of a vehicle, his paintings operate by zooming in on their subjects. it is this very search for a subject of representation that eventually leads the artist on a journey closer to abstraction. 

In his new work, Koen van den Broek moves away from Matisse like lines and colors to use mixed techniques that bring the materiality of his painting closer to that of grainy asphalt. The texture becomes part of the image and voids are treated like spaces. The cracks seem to hover above the surface of the road becoming autonomous as a kind of lyric network conflicting with the painted surface below. This feeling is further reinforced through the subtle play of conjured colors and the flattening of perspectives that brings forth an illusion of movement and unlimited depth.