Painter and poet Fred Michiels (°B 1966, lives and works in Tamines) has fully dedicated himself to abstraction in all its propositions and forms. The artist continually creates new challenges for himself: he paints in order to create spaces of possibility. Visual information from a variety of sources, cultural references and abstract forms alike, intermingle in a cheerful way. His works are instinctive and unplanned; straightforward and free. The abstractions are never limiting, but rich in visual experiences.
For almost 30 years and with a great sense of humour, Michiels has investigated the status of painting. In that endeavour, the early figurative aspects in his painting slowly disappeared, making way for form, colour, and painted matter. Unconventional grounds, such as antique postal items, books, used passports, antique vases and all manner of found objects are drawn into a two- or three-dimensional industriousness of oils, spray-paint, glitter and acrylics. Large and small formats engage in a visual dialogue.
Language has always played an important role in Michiels’ oeuvre; and in recent years, words and images increasingly enhance each other. The works bear humorous titles that refer to an evolving manifestation of ironic self-reflection that echo our extraordinary current times.
The treatment of ground remains important. Rich, painterly textures are patiently applied, layer by layer. They are only removed or overpainted to distil a hidden depth of bright colours. In his new series of ‘white works’ the upper layers accentuate the fragmented, masked-off areas in reflective mother of pearl white or lead white. There are no ugly colours or colour combinations in Fred Michiels’ work: he transforms them into joyful atonal compositions.