Friday, April 13, 2012

Arie Hellendoorn
Author: Sophie Keyse

"Are we ecosystems in ourselves?”

Arie Hellendoorn’s current exhibition at CEAC , Each Working Head Imprisons the Legitimate, explores the loaded form of the figure and questions what components make up a human body. Hellendoorn removes the familiar signposting in these paintings, letting colour, texture and pattern act as visual cues to understanding.  All physical features have been decreased in relative importance to the thought processes which define the painted identity in gentle patching.  Each of the five paintings in the exhibition challenge our expectations of a portrait/representations of the human figure, causing the viewer to reconsider what constitutes a human body and whether this is restricted to physical elements or extends to the interior and metaphysical aspects of a person: “Should we include thought processes?  Should we include the bacteria which promote healthy function but are not strictly part of us?  Are we ecosystems in ourselves?”

Originally from Holland, Hellendoorn attended high school in Wellington and went on to complete a Fine Arts degree at Massey University, majoring in painting and sculpture.  His medium of choice at present is paint, however he often uses photography to generate drawings and explore ideas.  Arie has also experimented with video and live performance with the incorporation of found objects. With his formal art background, Hellendoorn’s artistic influences are vast, ranging from New Zealand painter Tony de Lautour to international artists George Condo, Dawn Mellor and Lisa Yuskavage.  Each of these artists produces slightly off-putting, eerie artworks that unsettle the viewer in their reinterpretation of established symbols and compositions.  Perhaps it is this uneasy vibe which has led Hellendoorn to presently explore the process of sampling and constructing paintings from found images located in books, photographs and the internet.  Within these images Hellendoorn creates compositions which incorporate his own painted language, creating a confrontation between the original meaning of the found images and their new context.  As a result, the paintings themselves as objects/surfaces become meaningless and it is up to the viewer to imbue the paintings with meaning, which will inevitably change over time with its audience and its context.  Hellendoorn has maintained an interest in involving the viewer in the interpretation and development of meaning in his artworks throughout his artistic career, and encourages spectators to form their understanding using their own associations to colour, shape, subject and context.  This is particularly pertinent to Each Working Head Imprisons the Legitimate as the artist hopes the image will instigate viewers to start questioning where the human form ends as he believes it is incredibly fluid.

Next up for Arie is a solo exhibition at Suite gallery in Wellington later this year, as well as participation in the group show Never Mind the Pollocks at St Paul St Gallery Three.  You can visit Arie’s website here:

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