Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Line According To: August 29- September 9, 2008

To view works by Sjaak Korsten in this exhibition click HERE.
Untitled, 1999 
Mixed media on paper
8 ¾ x 13 in.
$ 700

if ART
presents at
Gallery 80808/Vista Studios
808 Lady St., Columbia, S.C.

Roland Albert – Mary Gilkerson – Sjaak Korsten 
Kees Salentijn

August 29 – September 9, 2008

Artists’ Reception: Friday, August 29, 2008, 5 – 10 p.m.
Opening Hours:
Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sundays, 1 – 5 p.m.
Weekdays, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and by appointment

For more information, contact Wim Roefs at if ART:
(803) 238-2351/255-0068 –

For its August – September exhibition, if ART presents at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios The Line According to Roland Albert, Mary Gilkerson, Sjaak Korsten & Kees Salentijn. German artist Albert will present mixed media, mostly wood-based sculptures, and Columbia’s Gilkerson, a new series of monotypes. Dutch painter Salentijn will show paintings, mixed media works on paper, painted ceramic plates, lithographs and silkscreens. Korsten, another Dutch artist, will show mixed media works on paper. Korsten has recently joined if ART Gallery, and the upcoming exhibition will be his first in the United States.

Albert (b. 1944) is a widely respected painter and sculptor in Germany. He is part of the artists’ exchange between Columbia and its German sister city of Kaiserslautern. Albert studied with the famous Greek-American sculptor Kosta Alex in Paris in 1964. In 1970, he graduated from the prestigious Munich Academy of Fine Arts. Albert’s work overall fits European post-World War II contemporary traditions. He shares Joseph Beuys’ love for rough and unfinished materials. Like Art Informel artists such as Spaniard Antoni Tapies and fellow German Emil Schumacher, Albert considers not just forms and shapes important but also the tactile and physical quality of his materials.

Gilkerson (b. 1958) has recently completed monotypes for her Three River series based on Columbia’s Congaree, Saluda and Broad rivers. The sometimes strongly abstracted works are based on photos and drawings Gilkerson made earlier this year during walks along the riverbanks. Gilkerson for many years has been prominent on the art scene of the South Carolina Midlands as an artist, critic and curator. She teaches art at Columbia College in her hometown of Columbia. Gilkerson holds BFA, MA and MFA degrees from the University of South Carolina.

Korsten (b. 1957) is widely known and respected in the Netherlands. Not unlike Albert, he works in established post-World War II European modern and contemporary traditions. His work is related to Art Informel artists such as Tapies, Jaap Wagemaker, Wols, Jean Fautrier and Manalo Millares. Much of the focus in their work and that of Korsten is on materials and surface. While Korsten’s work is heavily abstracted, he typically includes representative elements. Korsten’s work has been shown at major European fairs, including TEFAF Maastricht, PAN Amsterdam and the Cologne Art Fair.

Salentijn (b. 1947) is among The Netherlands’ most prominent painters. The initial inspiration leading to his mature style came from post-war American art and from Spanish painters such as Tapies, Antonio Saura, and later Millares. Salentijn developed a personal style that combined the expressionist, painterly swath with smaller but equally expressionist marks that are quick and slightly nervous but sure. Combining vigorous painting with often-childlike imagery, Salentijn’s work eventually placed him in the Northern European, post-war CoBrA tradition of strongly expressionist, abstracted art that containes representational elements. Salentijn’s increased use of figuration in the 1990s confirmed this link. His work is in several European museums. In addition to the 1982 Chicago Art Fair, his work has been represented at major European art fairs, including Art Fair Basel, TEFAF Maastricht, Kunstmesse Cologne and KunstRAI Amsterdam.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Essay: Sjaak Korsten

Untitled, 1999 
Mixed media on paper
8 ¾ x 13 in.
$ 700

By Wim Roefs

For a short period in his career, Sjaak Korsten used an abundance of color. “I quit that,” Korsten says. “I didn’t need color. I can say things better without color. Or, rather, what I want to say has nothing to do with color.”

Mostly, Korsten limits himself to understated, earth tones, creating an aesthetic that relates to post-World War II European Art Informel, albeit not its sub-set of “matter painters,” who strongly focused on materials, not just composition. Korsten’s often-sparse compositions emphasize empty or large spaces in which life’s questions can flourish. He creates poetic, even romantic spaces in which he engages the age-old question of the meaning of life. The representative elements that appear in those spaces aren’t intended to be literal; they are meant to create associations about life. 

“My work isn’t guided by certain philosophical principles,” Korsten says. “It’s simply about things that happen and to which I have to react through drawing and painting because otherwise I wouldn’t feel at ease.”

Korsten especially engages time, in particular its fleeting quality, with a longing for what was and a wondering about what might be. Many of his pieces have a fading quality or contain erased spaces. Often he doesn’t draw what is but what was. “There it is, now it’s gone. I want to maintain that moment but at the same time show that it’s disappearing. That’s why I use so little color. Color has too much presence. I find the transitory nature of things fascinating.”

One of Korsten’s main inspirations is nature, country living, his background as a farmer’s son and a long-time worker in a rose nursery in the southern Dutch province of Limburg. He searches for the hidden logic of what is visible in the relationship between culture and nature, creating landscapes of the soul.

“In a sense, I pose questions to the viewers through my works of art,” Korsten says. “And the viewers in a sense attach their own meaning to the work. Many of my pieces don’t have titles. I do that on purpose. A title points people in a certain direction. The interplay of associations and hidden clues triggers suggestions in the careful reader of the work. Rereading the work over and over enhances insight into its structure and meaning.” The viewer should let the work do its thing like music does rather than approach it rationally, Korsten says. 

Although he conceptualizes and visualizes many of his paintings and drawings in advance, none of them are completed in his mind before he starts them. Making marks and applying paint, he seeks his way toward a work of art. “I am an emotional artist, not a rational one. Having said that, I have a thinking hand. The hand acts, and when I paint something the hand tells me in one way or another what needs to be added.”

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Biography: Sjaak Korsten

Untitled, 1999 
            Mixed media on paper
8 ¾ x 13 in.
$ 700

Sjaak Korsten (b. 1957)

Sjaak Korsten is widely known and respected as an artist in his native The Netherlands, where he lives in the small town of Helden. He works in established post-World War II European modern and contemporary traditions, especially that of Art Informel, a more subdued European cousin of Abstract Expressionism. In addition to mixed media works on paper, Korsten creates paintings, sculptures and installations. He is represented by major Dutch galleries, and his work is in museum, corporate and private collections, including that of Dutch Queen Beatrix. His work has been shown at major European fairs, including TEFAF Maastricht, PAN Amsterdam and the Cologne Art Fair.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Preview of Sjaak Korsten's work in if ART Gallery's August 29- September 9, 2008 exhibition The Line According To Albert, Gilkerson, Korsten, and Salentijn at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street, Columbia, SC.