Bas Lobik, zonder titel, 2019, Janknegt Gallery.
The museums will close their doors for two weeks, but the galleries may remain open for the time being. A duo exhibition with work by Bas Lobik and Carina Ellemers is currently on show in Janknegt Gallery in Laren until December 5. In this article, we take a closer look at the work of Bas Lobik, whose work is represented on GalleryViewer.
Justine Janknegt spoke about it in Dutch art magazine Tableau: “We have been working towards the 20th anniversary on May 20 for a long time, with a book and an exhibition. That will not happen for the time being.” On March 10, she returned from New York, where the gallery had shown work at Art On Paper New York. Janknegt: “Many artists are a bit blocked right now because there are no exhibitions and fairs to work towards. Creativity has no direction now. You can tell we're all in that rat race. We are used to working from event to event and as a gallery owner you participate in that as well, by constantly asking for new work. Actually, that gasping pace is too fast for art. It doesn't really match.”
Bas Lobik, zonder titel, 2020, Janknegt Gallery.
Bas Lobik's work, which is now on view in the gallery, is instantly recognisable. Lobik grew up in a religious family (Continental Reformed - Protestant - church) and the church services have played an important role in his imagination. But perhaps not in the way you’d expect. Lobik: “As a child in church on Sunday, I had to listen to long sermons. I did not know what such a sermon was about, substantively. Well, judging by the serious faces around me, that sermon contained weighty words, a lot of weighty words. To pass the time, I usually started counting everything around me. Counting in order to get a grip on those endless seas of time that I apparently had to wade through. I would count the bricks in the wall behind the pastor, or the slats in the wooden roof. Or the heads of the people in front of me, or the rows of people in front of me. One limitation was that I was not allowed to turn my head too much. When I finished counting I would start again.” Those repetitions, which undoubtedly also took form in reading Bible passages over and over again, form a recurring element in his work. Perhaps it is not surprising that many of his paintings show us a tent, a quiet place of shelter. Lobik: "I started to build shapes in order to paint my own symbolic shelter." Others might recognise a wordless book in his paintings. Because the edges of the work remain open and a clear tent or book shape appears, the work never becomes fully abstract.
Technically, Lobik also works according to a methodical pattern: he starts on the outside and works inward, slowly adding layer by layer. That way, the painting enters three-dimensional space because of the thick layers of paint. Lobik: "I see paint more as matter, a means that I can use to occupy space." Perhaps that is the space that he couldn’t take up as a child. The work is complete when Lobik runs out of space to paint. That repetitive element is also reflected in the fact that he keeps returning to the canvas — sometimes he’ll works on a painting for over a year. Lobik: "The works are about time, that is stored in these paintings.”
The exhibition, in which his work is presented alongside work by Carina Ellemers, can be seen in the gallery until December 5. The gallery maintains adjusted opening hours, make sure to check the website before visiting.