Des malentendus et le temps perdu. The artist concentrates on the bare essentials of painting: canvases and wooden panels, paint and spray paint. "His paintings are the result of events that form a chain reaction, so in a way they are larger than the canvases themselves - they are spatial".
Ana Cristea Gallery is proud to present the first solo show in the United States of the Belgian artist Michiel Ceulers (born 1986). As an artist, Ceulers concentrates on the bare essentials of painting: canvases and wooden panels, paint and spray paint. Ceulers is entirely committed to painting as an ongoing art form, saying in an interview that painting "has been declared dead a few times, but still many people consider painting the most relevant medium." Part of the impulse associated with the logic of chance the artist submits his canvases to can be seen as an attempt to move beyond from the boundaries of painterly tradition. As a result, the artworks' origins are not only painterly, they are also conceptual. As stated in the artist's own words, his "paintings are the result of events that form a chain reaction, so in a way they are larger than the canvases themselves - they are spatial." Thus, true to himself, Ceulers maintains steady ground, balancing the idiosyncrasies of his practice against the tradition of modernist paintings, which he clearly belongs to.
Ceulers mainly paints abstractions. But he uses words, rather than numbers, in his titles--to help viewers decipher some of the ideas he is playing with. Several titles originate with Kant, some are lyrics from songs. This combination of high-mindedness and lack of pretension add to the works' whimsy. As for the paintings themselves, he is decidedly exploratory in his process. His practice thus is informal on several levels without succumbing to an overly ad hoc, limited expressiveness. Many of his works involve tight grids; these bear some resemblance to Yayoi Kusama's infinity net paintings. But Ceulers' efforts are not characterized by obsessiveness. He is remarkably inventive within the medium he has chosen, mixing planning with chance and furthering the tradition of contemporary painting.
Michiel Ceulers lives and works in Brussels and Berlin. He recently attended a two year residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam where he was the youngest artist ever to be accepted in the program. He has had solo exhibitions in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, London, and Zurich. In 2011, Ceulers was nominated for the Young Belgian Painters Award. In 2012 his work will be included in the show "Rasterfahndung, Das Raster in der Kunst nach 1945" at Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. Other artists in the show include Enrico Castellani, Chuck Close, Hanne Darboven, Günther Förg, Mona Hatoum, Sol LeWitt, Carsten Nicolai, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and Christopher Wool.
Image: Michiel Ceulers, Contempt of ones own work as planning for career, 2010-2012. Oil gloss and spraypaint on canvas, 60 x 48 in (152.4 x 121.9 cm)
Opening: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 6-8pm
Ana Cristea Gallery
521 West 26th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues) - New York
Open from Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm