‘What I like about painting is its ability to create its own light’, says Selma van Panhuis and as it happens, her paintings do tend to have their own luminance. However, every work needs the external light as well as a space in which we eventually recognize it and experience its color and materiality. Confronted with the fragile and translucent paintings by Selma van Panhuis, the encounter is a sensuous one – given the numerous different substances used, the material nature of her work is evidently important. The pleasure of experimenting with the materials becomes evident. This raises the question how other materials apart from paper, canvas and wood, would react to this act of playing. This way, with every finding something new develops: The connecting of paint, given textures and the ground, they all condense into an image that is concrete in the sense that it doesn’t show any other figures or objects besides itself. Even more, it becomes independent in its own process of emerging, of coming into being. Numerous layers of chalk, pigments, wax or tempera penetrate the surface and interfere with each other again and again. In the end, it’s not traceable which layer lays in front and which one lays behind. In fact, these thin layers produce a depth that at some moments has a spatial impact, transcending its own sparse materiality. The decision to use the existing textures of materials reflects in the way they are handled. To some extent the gravitation shapes along the image when water and thinned paint drips down the canvas, leaving its traces behind. Even so to be washed away or painted over again. Eventually something delicate and fine remains; close to the surface while penetrating it and hardly elevated. After studying sculpture at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, the work of Selma van Panhuis turned more and more towards Painting, which she deepened during Postgraduate at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. Corresponding to the usual practice of exhibiting at Galerie b2_, for her first solo show ‘A Very Beautiful Golden Orange’, Selma van Panhuis invited as a guest artist her Dutch colleague Nicola Kirkaldy. They both have a mutual background in sculpture and an interest in minimalism and abstraction, as for a search for an ideal form – and simultaneously breaking it up. The objects of Nicola Krikaldy appear casual and subtle in their own way and connect in a particular way to the space in which they are placed. With Selma van Panhuis the two-dimensional paintings become seemingly spatial works, whereas the fine sculptures of Nicola Kirkaldy appear, seen from certain angles, almost plane. In ‘A Very Beautiful Golden Orange’ the imagination of the viewer is just as well asked for as the light, thrown upon these multilayered works in such a diverse manner, giving the defined-undefined gatherings of colored planes its own meaning.
Text: Olga Vostretsova, Lea Kontak