m.simons proudly presents CURVES, Jan van der Ploeg's inaugural solo exhibition at the gallery.
The artist enjoys widespread international acclaim, with his murals adorning numerous locations. In the current year alone, Van der Ploeg has painted walls in Arnhem, Nijmegen, Middelburg, Frankfurt, Lyon, Basel, Dallas, Auckland, Sydney, and the Schneider Museum of Art in Oregon. His body of work aligns with the Dutch abstract geometric tradition. Amidst the lineage of artists from Mondrian and Van Doesburg onwards, Van der Ploeg distinguishes himself as a pronounced colorist. While adhering to clear forms and lines akin to his predecessors, his color palette seems inexhaustible.
For the exhibition CURVES, Van der Ploeg has designed a new mural, showcased alongside recent works on canvas and paper. The mural responds to the gallery's architecture, dividing it into four equal parts, alternating between blocks of color and the exposed white of the wall. Functioning as a backdrop, the mural sets the stage for the works on canvas and paper, integrating them into a cohesive installation. This juxtaposition illustrates the distinctions in the artist's various modes of creation. In mural painting, the immediate surrounding architecture plays a pivotal role, while choices in works on paper and canvas appear less definitive, providing Van der Ploeg the space to revisit motifs and develop new forms.
The new series of works on paper and canvas predominantly feature a combination of a color with either white or black. Compositions consist of narrow horizontal and vertical lines intersected by subsequent series of lines. Where these lines reach the limits of their medium, they seemingly extend into the artist's abstract universe.
Rosalind Krauss, in "Grids," delved into the endless debates surrounding Mondrian's centrifugal or centripetal nature of art: "Is what we see in a particular painting merely a section of an implied continuity, or is the painting structured as an autonomous, organic whole?" When posed with this question regarding Van der Ploeg's work, an intriguing evolution becomes apparent. In his earlier works, a centripetal nature prevailed; forms were almost always contained within a composition, whether circles, rectangles, or his renowned "grips." While forms had previously extended, it was more as repetition than as independent entities.
However, in his current exhibition at Stichting IK in Middelburg, a shift appears. For each exhibition, Stichting IK asks a prominent artist to contemplate a key work within their oeuvre. Van der Ploeg responded with a mural featuring his "Grips" motif, deliberately truncated. The rounded rectangles were painted vertically on the wall, appearing as if they continue beneath the floor and above the ceiling. This departure is echoed in the canvases and works on paper in the present exhibition, where independent forms curve centrifugally, cutting off at the canvas's edge as if curving through the exhibition space.