Maaike Schoorel is internationally known and admired for her atmospheric paintings which utilize scientific and phenomenological principals of perception. The Amsterdam-based painter has studied the writings of neuroscientists V.S. Ramachandran and Erik Scherder and included their research into building her contemplative painting project.
Schoorel’s paintings incorporate scenes from her intimate life in relationship to the historical precedents of still life, portraiture and landscape. In 2015, Schoorel was awarded the residency at The American Academy in Rome, where she made the paintings on view. As usual in her practice, Schoorel employed photographs of her day-to-day experience to compose the exhibition’s body of work.
The exhibition’s title, Gradient, refers to many aspects of the exhibition; the palettes’ tones and shades, the scale of works from small to large, and the atmosphere of the works on exhibition in addition to referring to a musical scoring.
Schoorel began her practice making very fugitive light/white compositions. Over time, she moved the work to dark/black, and to the many shades and tints in between. She began the Gradient project with the intention of specifically building the exhibition from small to large and white to black, day to night.
Schoorel’s paintings are time-based, and the viewer’s visual commitment is necessary to complete the incantation.
Her precise, layered compositions are carefully built and require time for the eye and brain to acclimate and reveal the compositions, which slowly emerge from the surface. The artist never describes forms in full, but instead extracts essential visual qualities and lays in vital additions imbued with movement an physicality. Schoorel has said of her work “ …it’s not about the emulation of something” … “the image is just a reference point.”
“We gain in Schoorel’s paintings environments in which complexity and ambiguity are valued. We gain insight into the speed with which our brains naturally come to terms with sense and absence. And we gain what Schoorel works with us to create through layer upon layer of ground and color: a “new sense of space.”
Gradient by Maaike Schoorel
Marc Foxx, Los Angeles
Through June 20
Fresh out of press:
Elemento. Maaike Schoorel
text by Jens Hoffmann and Alessandro Rabottini
Courtesy of the artist and Marc Foxx, Los Angeles.
Photographer: Robert Wedemeyer, 2016.