Adelheid De Witte, Meet Me At The Top, 2021, Barbé-Urbain.
In her article for The Art Couch, Annelies Vanbelle writes about the painting of Adelheid De Witte:
Logic in the manner of Adelheid De Witte, challenging games with your perception that bring you out of balance until you feel just as orphaned as a sole survivor of a flood. That is why we warn you: keep an eye on this lady. Anyone who is capable of doing this, has everything set to become a very big one.
So you have been warned: we will be hearing a lot more from Adelheid. And especially when you consider that she has only been taking her first steps in the art world since 2020, at the age of 36; that she was trained as a philosopher – she even planned to do a PhD - and it wasn't until she left for a residence in Barcelona where she initially made installations that she realized she wanted to be an artist. What makes everything even more special is that although she started with installations, her focus soon shifted to painting. She now combines both media, which offers her more opportunities to investigate the relationship between painting and physical space.
Adelheid De Witte, Feu D’Artifice/I, 2020, Barbé-Urbain.
Precisely because she is self-taught as a painter and a philosopher by training, her work creates a dynamic in which the core of both disciplines come together in an extremely subtle and personal way. As befits a philosopher, she starts from an inner world, probably from an unconscious desire to better understand herself and the world around her. And that explains why her paintings are so atmospheric: they seem to express inner moods and mental structures that can sometimes be light-footed and hopeful and at other times threatening and frightening. I experience her canvases as inner landscapes that may show similarities with the real world, but were never made with those intentions.
The play with three-dimensionality and perspective also makes it seem as if the artist wants to let you wander into her inner world. And who accepts that invitation - and why wouldn’t you? - not only experiences what it means not to run away, but rather to look for the depths of the soul, but is also surprised by abstract, often geometric elements that you can come across out of the blue. They seem like a detail that you may encounter on your path, but appearances can be deceiving, because in fact they carry the painting as it were, because they take you out of some kind of dream. The surprising colours and shapes you experience that there is more than the place where you are more than the emotions and thoughts in which you can become entangled. They are an opening and, in this sense, radiate modernity and freshness. A detail, so meaningful that the rest of the painting seems to become a kind of background.
Just as a crush can temporarily obscure the view of reality or a trip to Barcelona can permanently change your life course, so do Adelheid's lines, circles and triangles with regard to the experience of the painting as a whole. As if they want to say: there is more between heaven and earth than you think.
I like to contrast unruly loose brushstrokes with a precisely painted shape such as an oval or a horizontal line. In this way I increase the movement and control it at the same time. It's about the process. In this way I construct an image the way you can paste words next to each other without making a sentence out of it, giving it meaning. Just like you make piles: with sand and stones.
Adelheid De Witte, N’oubliez pas!, 2020, Barbé-Urbain.
In 2009 she left for Barcelona and when she returned a year later she decided to pick up painting. And she did. For years. Alone and in silence. In 2015 she met Jan Hoet Jr who invited her to an exhibition and from that moment on things went fast. She now has one exhibition after another and her creativity seems to be endless.
Adelheid continues to surprise with her varied painting and drawing techniques, the way in which she interweaves figuration and abstraction, the countless mood swings in her use of colour, the different dimensions and finishes of the edges of the canvases, the use of industrial materials for her installations, etc. Incidentally, it might be nice to mention that Adelheid's parents have a construction company and that she can be found there regularly looking for materials.
I remember that as a child I enjoyed being allowed to sit next to my father at his large antique double desk; while he looked at architectural plans, I would sit quietly next to him, drawing and completely surrender to the world of the imagination.
At some point breeding will out.
Adelheid De Witte,Take Your Turn, 2021, Barbé-Urbain.