Curves and Corners: Raymond Lemstra and Hans Roos Take Over Amsterdam
Entering warmer days and somewhat looser regulations, Galerie Bart in Amsterdam, clearly anxious to proceed as planned, will open a special two person show on May 23, 2020. With Curves and Corners, Raymond Lemstra and Hans Roos introduce new works traversing the breadth of symmetry and beauty of geometric abstraction, as well as celebrating a long-lasting friendship.
After living in Seoul for the last few years, Raymond Lemstra recently returned to his hometown of Groningen in the North of The Netherlands where he reunited with his former illustration teacher at the Minerva Academy, Hans Roos. Although both creatives pursued illustration and graphic design at the time, they both eventually switched to painting, noticing similar focus and key elements in their work, like a fondness for symmetry, circular shapes, geo abstraction, negative narrative, and shared appreciation of perspective and spatiality. Why not conceive a show that expresses such painterly propensities?
After being limited by the rectangular format of a computer screen for years, Roos fully abandoned the angled structure to work on the round surface. Determined to be unshackled from traditional rules of composition, he explored the freedom of the round shape. "No corners, no hotspots, no golden ratio. There is a different experience of gravity, from above and below. A circle tends to roll, you don't just bring the image to a standstill." In paintings made in geo-based patterns that organically flourish in unexpected ways, solid color shapes, catapult against vibrant, captivating visuals.
Both artists are in mad pursuit of pattern Lemstra’s painterly manner veers to small-scale samples on where the artist explores the qualities of materials. "I started to study what paint is and what it can do. This is how I discovered what the properties of different pigments are, and how acrylics can sometimes look almost like oils." Such keen fascination led to the development of his own paint which, upon his return, was eventually created in the lab at Academie Minerva. Almost clashing with the strict composition rules he imposes on his work, he creates an image almost perfectly mirrored in the middle of the canvas. To make the mask-like "portraits", using two small circles to play with the phenomenon of human recognition (pareidolia), Lemstra redirects viewers from drifting into abstraction, suggesting that basic features that can be read as physical attributes or expressions of his imaginary subjects. —Sasha Bogojev