After the recent show back in his home country of The Netherlands, Dutch artist Raymond Lemstra is currently having a solo exhibition at Everyday Mooonday Gallery in Seoul, Korea. After now living in Seoul for the past two years, this work represents his Korean debut. Heads Up continues Lemstra's most recent series of portraits, highlighting line, geometric shapes, strict symmetry and enforcing a direct eye contact with the viewer.
For this showcase, the artist painted the interior of the gallery, making sure the layering and the vibrancy of colors in the works get the full attention. Using the portrait as the starting point for the construction of his images, Lemstra is gradually reducing the form, inviting human's facially obsessed-perception to fill in the left gaps. Applying the intuitive child's painting and the semiotics of primitive art onto his own strict rules based on the golden ratio, the artist creates captivating forms that evoke both tribal masks or abstract renderings of sci-fi extraterrestrial life forms.
Focused on layers, textures, translucent colors and a mixture of different mediums (including the paint the artist made himself with pigments he sourced locally), the pieces are hiding its technical importance behind seemingly familiar format which distracts the viewer. In his work the artist often uses Pareidolia to his advantage, only suggesting what the image is presenting. This illusion in which the brain realizes something familiar from an arbitrary shape is the reason we see animals, humans or objects in clouds. Encouraging this effect by creating texture rich layers in his work, the effect becomes dimensional, adding depth to his seemingly flat imagery.
This new body of work was directly influenced by artist's move to Korea, during which he experienced a smaller and larger culture shocks, moving from the multi-cultural and multi-racial melting pot in the Netherlands. As a form of getting connected with the country and unfamiliar culture, Lemstra started collecting pieces of posters and flyers from walls and flagpoles, which were then assembled into collages that then formed the portraits of imaginary new fellow citizens. Eventually, these became a base for his paintings and a way for the artist to reveal his identity as a Dutch citizen in Korean society through collecting, documenting and repurposing the fragmentation of old memories and histories of this unknown place. —Sasha Bogojev
The show is on view in Seoul through July 1, 2018.