We kick off the gallery season with Welcome to the Thunderdome, the first solo exhibition by the young Dutch painter Gijs van Lith (1984). Works by Gijs van Lith playfully distort our expectations and fundamental understanding of what a painting can or should be. He takes the ideas offered by action painting, abstract expressionism and tachism to their utmost conclusion and searches for a painting that consists of nothing more than gestures and raw material. This connects him to a line of artists who embrace a fundamental emptiness of meaning in their work without a sense of post-modern irony. His works are carefully conceived stackings of manical-mechanical applications of paint on a surface. Their starting point is often some kind of grid-like system, ranging from chicken-wire to the way a digital image is structured. But above all his works burst at the seams from the sheer joy of painting they seem to convey.
For Welcome to the Thunderdome Gijs has created a series of new work he describes as cattle grids capturing passing brush strokes. These layered, dynamic pile-ups of paint function as a rhythmic log of the acts of an artist. Different materials and periods of work capture the spectators eye simultaneously without a guiding narrative or preconceived composition. Gijs sees chance, agency and temporality as the driving forces behind his work. If a piece goes unsold after an exhibition it will return to the studio to be scraped clean, painted over and sanded until holes appear in the canvas and the piece can no longer support itself. His studio isnt just a place of origin, its the natural habitat of his work. Here it can be seen in its most honest (and instable) state; as part of an ongoing process. He tries to translate this idea to the context of a gallery through very large transparent plastic bubbles which he paints from the inside out. These monumental balloon-sculptures become metaphors for the microcosm of the studio. Here, the broader universe of the artist is made concrete in the act of applying paint on a surface.
Gijs van Lith graduated from the MFA program at the AKV St. Joost (Den Bosch, NL) in 2013. Since then he has been working on an extensive list of national and international exhibitions. His work is part of the collections of Dela, APG, Achmea, Luciano Benetton and the Dutch royal family. He is the winner of the 2009 Thieme Young Art Award and will take part in the 2018 CCA Andratx Artist in Residence program in Mallorca. Welcome to the Thunderdome will be his first exhibition at TORCH. Previously he has had solo-exhibitions at galerie Majke Hustegge in De Bosch (NL), RH contemporary in New York and the APG headquartes in Amsterdam. Recent group exhibitions include: Contemporary Visions VI, BEERS, London Gallery en Got It For Cheap Vol.4, Agnes B Galerie, Dejour, Paris, Frankrijk. Traces, SM-‘s Stedelijk Museum ‘s-Hertogenbosch, NL (2014), A paintings womb, SM-‘s Stedelijk Museum ‘s- Hertogenbosch, NL (2011)