"Fissures" Belinda de Veer's solo show was financially supported by PBCCG.
The ART HOUSE
Fissures in the art of Belinda De Veer
Life is a promise, we are led to believe as a child, where we live shielded from the hard truths that are constant in adult life aware of the many perils of existence. This period filled with family, peace, love and innocence becomes to a certain extent the secure foundation of childhood from where a solid individual is to develop from. It is here that each human being embarks on the process of birth, experiences of a lifetime, and death. However, the inevitability of death is a realization that has been continuously pushed to the background, where little attention is paid to this finality of life. We live as if there will always be a tomorrow full of optimism… continuously projecting into the future.
At least this is how we have chosen to construct our human existence ,always aspiring for a better future, to become a decent human being, and to live a happy and peaceful life amongst the ones we love. It is also in this way that we choose to surround ourselves with the beautiful things in life, rearranging our scene of play as we go along.
However, there is always the possibility of violent turns, turbulence and uncertainty where fissures can dramatically separate us from this ideal existence and confront us with the harsh reality, pain and suffering that is also part of this life.
The art of Belinda De Veer presents us with an opportunity to make sense of this harsh reality by confronting it in a very direct manner. The impermanence and chaos of life does not hide in these painting but faces us head on.
In her striking and mysterious paintings we see shifting images and forms, where the materiality of the paint, the gravitas that seems to be acting upon them, as well as the uncanny images that populate them dominate. These uncanny images draw us in with the familiar elements, but confront us with the darker subject matter reflected in her hues and cavernous spaces.
These works provoke us with their unsettling scenes, arousing our curiosity and allure us in with their mysterious beauty and depth. Her prevailing themes of familial relations, bloodlines, embodied history, as well as memory and passage of time are all present within these last works. To a certain extent, all of her previous imagery and expressive power was required to engage with one of the bigger questions of human existence…the question of life and death.
It is through the personal experience and direct encounter with this abrupt fissure, separation, and rupture brought on by death and illness, that led Belinda to this reflective state where she had to process this life altering realization of the fragility of human existence.
In her art we see ghostly figures populating the cavernous spaces of her psyche…allowing the shadow aspects to show themselves juxtaposed with references to the promise of life and existence such as infants and flowers.
Furthermore, we also encounter a more scientific veil superimposed onto the poetics of her art, where her knowledge through her medical training of bodily processes of pathology, decay, entropy and death are revealed. Processes intrinsically linked to human existence but constantly pushed to the background of human experience.
At the end it is through her creative process that this subject matter is sublimated into art, where these unanswerable questions of death and of human existence are transformed into artworks exuding this angst; but at the same time allowing for the process of painting itself to offer relief and harmony in relation to these questions.
Pressing questions that have been prevalent in the history of art within genres such as Vanitas and Memento Mori, both drawing our attention through the ages, and especially when confronted with plagues and chaos, to the fleeting moment of youth and the impermanence of life.
Throughout art history there has been numerous examples of artists dealing with these themes and stressing the fact “remember you must die” .When looking closer to home we find the art of Frida Kahlo as an emblematic example of an artist determination to overcome illness and physical pain and to transform these experiences into art. For example in Frida Kahlo’s painting Broken Column we see a fissure opening up her weakened body to reveal a damaged column vertebrate represented by a fractured column. The agony and pain of her experience are evident in the painting but at the same time also her determination and strength.
Another more contemporary example is that of Damien Hirst, whose recent exhibit Relics and Fly delves into morbid realism, where we encounter subjects such as Saint Bartholomew flayed alive and cast in bronze. This recent exhibition also presents numerous other relics described as Memento Mori depicting corpses, skeletons and mummies…themes reminding us of the ever present condition of darkness and death in the human existence.
It is especially poignant that these works of art are being produced at roughly the same time that our modern existence is dramatically being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Bringing Belinda De Veer’s Fissures paintings very much “closer to home” than in previous decades. There has not been a more dramatic confrontation with death in recent years, than that which we are now experiencing all over the world.
In her personal reflections upon these themes Belinda seems to offer us a reminder of things to come, but with a smile that conveys the promise and need to live one’s life to the best of one’s ability. This way, Allowing for beauty as well as horror to be revealed in time. It is with this very present spiritual engagement and approach that she delves in her experiences, flowing, dripping, penetrating and illuminating the embodied experiences fossilized in her being.
It is through her art that Belinda is able to find peace and tranquility in periods like these…and luckily for us at the very right moment in order to inspire our own paths towards catharsis.