Odd Yet Timeless: A Studio Visit with Laurens Legiers in Antwerp
The last studio visit I managed to wedge in before the lockdown was a stop at Laurens Legiers' place in the center of Antwerpen over a month ago. I wanted to turn it into a feature right away, but things started to escalate, and reporting on our friends for Art in Uncertain Times felt more urgent and appropriate. So, I’m happy to have found the time to gather images and share my impressions.
I first saw his unique work at Gallery Sofie Van de Velde and Plus-One Gallery's The Wunderwall a few months earlier, and couldn't wait to see more of these distinctly odd, but timeless pieces. Fresh out of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, with a bachelor's degree earned in 2018, Legiers quickly developed a unique visual style. Like many students from this same institution, the work is rooted in formal elements and powered by technical mastery. However, this young painter eschews physical references and fully relies on imagination and memory. In doing so, his images are stripped of details and recognizable features, resulting in perceptions of reality and idealized representations.
It’s rare to see such a young artist developing such distinctive visual language. While cleverly playing with contrasts and choosing a few subdued color combinations, he paints with a dabbing technique that neutralizes the brushwork while creating delicate texture, Legiers’ still life compositions are built around the depiction of simple yet recognizable, rounded natural forms such as lobsters, mushrooms, shells, snails, branches, acorns, or eggs, while elaborately exploring their surrounding surfaces. Almost sculpted with smooth gradients on a flat canvas or panel, his creations are the result of ongoing experimentation with favorite imagery and compositions. —Sasha Bogojev