The aftermath of 9 Galleries, 2 Bikes.
The start of our Friday gallery tour was W139, Warmoestraat 139. Francisco and I planned to meet at the gallery at 1pm. I love gallery hours, they’re late to open, so I had plenty of time for morning tea and epic dog walking before hoping on my Oma Fiets.
Francisco was fashionably late, but that was great as W139 had plenty for me to feast my eyes on. That place is HUGE and the work was engaging.
It was Gijs Deddens’ art that pulled me in. His subject was surreal but precise in form, which kept my eye moving. His larger illustrative pieces seemed pixilated, but it was hard to determine if that was an intent or a part of the printing process. Are these huge wood prints? Are they a part of a numbered series? Absent also was the convenient artist cheat sheet at the front desk…. But the unanswered questions failed to detract from the expansion of his work to the very walls themselves – yes, the entire wall was drawn upon – making my fingers itch to grab a colored pencil and keep going.
And those itchy palms made me pause – what exactly was my intent on this tour? Was I just appreciating art? Yes, but I was seeing something else. As I looked at the huge space I realized that I was looking at the room itself. I was looking for a space to create for.
Let’s face it; I have done art since high school. I found it easy, stimulating and something I was good at. I think I am a good artist…. But was that enough to pursue it with an unwavering vengeance, nope. I wasn’t brave enough to do it. While looking at Gijs’ drawn lines on the wall, I found myself wondering. Am I brave enough now?
Psychological questions aside, Francisco and I moved on and immediately hit a flat spot with two errors in my gallery plan. Yep, Mediamatic has an office not a gallery on Vijzelstraat AND Juliette Jongma was clearly between exhibits and closed. Promises to do better research next time.
Grimm on Frans Halsstraat was also between shows, but Sebastiaan not only let us in to view works in stock, but also spent a significant amount of time with us talking about the upcoming exhibition from Matthias Weischer. He was incredibly friendly and helped me overcome my fear that fine gallery workers are snooty and unapproachable.
I think that this was another hidden intent of the tour. If some day I show, what would I want people seeing my art to experience? When a stranger walks in, how are they be introduced to the work? Gallery experiences should be warm and inviting. The more I am helped to engage about the work I am seeing, the more I am inclined to engage back and potentially buy, right? I am sure I have this all wrong, but still.
Walls was just getting buffed and polished for it’s Sunday afternoon group opening. From the group, Ibo Pompe’s got the most of attention. His combination of illustration/collage/paint/word was balanced, complex and simple at the same time. I found it intoxicating. And though the staff was busy with the show, the woman who greeted us, along with her dog, were inviting and spent a nice amount of time with us. We were welcomed to the opening and introduced to the sphere of Ibo’s work.
By the time we got to Gerhard Hofland it was well past their closing time, but the lights were on and we were ushered in by, who I think was, Gerhard himself. He was working late prepping for Andrea Lehmann’s opening on Saturday and was more than happy to let us in to wander. Andrea’s talent is obvious, but what struck me the most was her ability to abstract her realism with collage, composition and materials. I loved that her main triptych was massive and on paper. It pleases me greatly when an artist uses non-fancy materials to create beautiful work – there was even a tear in one of them that I would imagine her using duct tape to repair. I am sure that Andrea can rock a still life like nobody’s business, but instead, she chooses thin canvases that have holes, uses hair and cuts and pastes things together. That’s rad.
In all, I had a great day getting to know Francisco better and I learnt three things:
1 - that having a double espresso laced with coco at 2pm will keep me up until 4am
2- full exposure artists and galleries in Amsterdam is stirring my pot in a way I am not sure I can word
3 – I need to do it again.
My next tour is happening on the Friday, March 22nd, email me at Hi@PetraBenach.com if you want to join.