PLUS-ONE Gallery (Nieuw Zuid)
Opening reception 17.05.18 18-21h
exhibition Thu-Sun 14-18h
Her works are populated by harmless figures, tender colours and clouds in bright blue skies. At first glance, or to the indifferent eye, Nel Aerts' (°1987, Turnhout) approach might appear innocent, or even naive. However, what matters is the world under and beyond those clouds. By taking a look over her shoulder, to her evolution as an artist so far, and by re-using her own motifs, Nel Aerts is clearly reaffirming her characteristic imagery and artistic personality in this exhibition.
As a result of a previous presentation at De Warande in Turnhout, which included works fr...om several episodes in her oeuvre, she decided to look all the way back to the start of her practice, by reinterpreting subjects and situations. For this exhibition, Aerts has re-used old panels. Because of the underlying layers of paint, the current surface shows a great many irregularities, scars of a past life — just as a human skin might. This skin, which the artist manipulates, scratches and chafes, has become increasingly more important in her practice.
In her new series, Aerts portrays sometimes slightly daft figures. The figures are kind and accessible — sitting at a table with a calm posture, their work in front of them. The table cloths, with bright flowery or checkered patterns, summon a very homely and therefore inviting, atmosphere. The title 'Checkered Checkmate' bears a loose association to these typical repetitive textile patterns. But above all, it can be read as an alter ego and a nickname for the main characters in this series. Some of them recognizable as human, others more abstract, they are all individuals, 'keeping an eye on each other' in the exhibition space.