Els Nouwen’s paintings are the outcome of a long journey. Right after their conception, images are undressed, questioned, redecorated with new layers of paint and meaning. The process continues with many reassessments and is only finalised at the end of an intensive dialogue with the material. Els Nouwen plays in earnest. The play involves analysis and research. Her existential struggle with her paintings results in brutal and enigmatic shapes. Physical and cerebral at the same time.
The earlier images of previous works, damaged with precision, have changed. In recent times they consist of grids, montages, cut up images. There is a tendency towards order, structure and juxtaposition. The crossword-like paintings are complex. We can witness a developing narrative, but also its sudden breakdown. We recognize and decipher, but we are left without a key. Animals and burlesque characters sing an uneasy song marked by its atonality. A flying pig, erotic fruit, violent interaction between people, united in paint. Obsessive realism derailing. A skin of paint varying from rough to smooth and liquid, from hysteria to precision.
Next to her paintings on canvas, Nouwen also exhibits a series of smaller works on copper plate.