Artist Statement When painting, I like to compare myself to a sculptor. I form and re-form shapes, composition, narrative, emotion, colour and technique over and over. I create layer upon layer upon layer. Sometimes background colours change as much as ten to twenty times before the painting finally allows me to consider them appropriate.
The painting process is a constant conversation between the canvas and myself. Every new layer of paint demands a reaction, a vision, an explanation. It is the same process some abstract painters like to use, with the only difference that my work is figurative and therefore inevitably holds narrative. Narrative I usually don’t think up in advance, but narrative that I feel is more comparable to a summary of the conversation my work and I have been conducting during the time it was made.
I think treating the narrative and emotional levels in my work in the same investigative way I treat shape, rhythm and colour is key to my way of creating a painting. Concept and form unfold simultaneously like when writing a short story or playing a jazz improvisation. Often a little colour theme or an inspiring image or sentence is enough to spark the conversation. What happens next can become a heated political discussion or a troubled love affair.
I believe these emotions evoked during the process of painting must remain visible in the finished work. Scars of anger and tender brush strokes should be silent witnesses that prove the search for a satisfying image was sincere and not in some way clouded by ‘crowd-pleasing’ or ‘mechanical’ considerations. The work needs to obtain a kind of charismatic soul in order to be able to stand on it’s own. Once it leaves the studio it should have the power to seduce an audience by itself without the help of any additional information.
This also explains why my work might seem eclectic and unstructured to some. I am not interested in finding a style to repeat indefinitely. I am not looking for a recognizable definition of my name, my ego or myself. My art is a personal adventure in which I cross borders and explore new grounds. Once a parcel of land is explored, conquered and laboured, repetition seems futile because it would only result in caricatures of the pioneering works.
In this perspective my works are merely documentations of an evolving artistic journey. An ongoing series of essays leading to understanding my personal points of view in life and art. A way to find satisfying answers in times where every statement seems to have been outspoken a million times before. A way to find truth in a world that has proven to have been driven by manipulation, greed and lies more than we would like to admit. A way to explore emotions and aesthetics without using ‘shock-tactics’ or ‘naïve romanticism’. Dearing to look for nuance although polarisation, boldness and ‘going viral’ seem trending. Going back in art history and trying to rebuild a relevant artistic statement from the conceptual wastelands avant-garde art has brought us, and left us in.
These are the goals, my works are visual reminders of the path I follow to reach them.
Alexander Koning – April 2016