This solo exhibition was the first collaboration between artist Erik de Bree and TORCH gallery. During the summer, De Bree worked hard on new works, continuing his signature series 'Wallpaper paintings'. After gluing layers of different wallpapers on panel, he starts to tear off scraps, resulting in a composition that is subject to chance. Just like the word 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' in the song from the musical film Mary Poppins, the works are a combination of independent segments, glued together to flow into this feeling of giddiness and joy.
Playfulness is key in all of his works. Cheerful colors and unforeseen lines reflects childlike nonsensical purity. The process of the making is an essential part of the final visual result, in the sense that you can still see the buildup of layers and imagine movements of the ripping off. Opposed to structured and calculated proportions, in the works of De Bree it is the odds that decide its outcome. They are celebrations of the unpredictable that is life.
There are three different series with corresponding techniques, often mixed and emerging into one. The method of creating a circumstance where coincidences play a crucial role, happens in all of these techniques and is consistent in the work of De Bree.
In this series, it's all about wallpaper and discovering what happens when leaving several parts out. It was the starting point for the works of De Bree and became his signature style.
Next to tearing down paper with his hands, the other method De Bree uses, is carving lines into the paper with a knife and filling these with ink. This series 'withdrawal symptoms' is referring to drawing lines with a pencil, just as 'wallpaper paintings' refers to applying planes with paint. Afterwards, segments of the drawing will be withdrawn to add again the element of surprise.
Using acrylic paint instead of wallpaper for these works, they seem to be an odd addition to the show. Nevertheless, it fits De Bree's philosophy perfectly. The paint is applied on a plate of glass, making it possible to cut forms out of it that are then filled with a different color. Over and over again, layers of paint are added and forms are cut. Sometimes one layer of paint shrinks, or one color layer slips behind the other and there is nothing you can do about it. Again, layer on layer is concluding in a composition, only this time patterns are made using self chosen forms.
Erik de Bree (1977, Haarlem) lives and works in Haarlem, The Netherlands. He graduated from Gerrit Rietvelt academy in 2008 and won the Van Vlissingen Art Prize in 2014. His works are in several public and private collection. He is from now on represented by TORCH gallery in Amsterdam.