Noise on the image

Rarely have we seen a painter evolving faster than Hans Everaert (Lokeren, °1968, lives and works in Antwerp). Everaert got his artistic degree at the Sint-Niklaas Academy and started showing his work in public in 2010 at the Antwerp gallery The Fifth House. Back there and then, he presented predominantly figurative work, mainly architectural images and landscapes, already showing a tendency towards abstraction. That tendency developed in the years to follow. The artist describes this as ’the withering of figurative traces‘.

In his recent work Hans Everaert is more occupied with the underlying, with the structure of the image itself, rather than with the ephemeral that characterized his earlier paintings. The spatial composition appears, still expressive at first, with clear references to (again) architecture, but also to landscapes and to organic forms and networks with rhizome- and neurone-like connections and structures. Later, as in his most recent paintings, he worked more towards the plane, instead of the space: the perspective, which was so important in his earlier works, slowly disappears. A certain ‘blur’ occurs, a mixing of background and foreground, amplified by the use of pale, ‘contaminated’ colours.

Everaert constructs his works with oil, acrylic and spray paint in a completely intuitive manner; he creates an image for the image itself, without any figurative reference or anecdote. This makes the viewer inclined to ‘fill in’ the image for himself, to look for starting points. Abstracting as it may be, one is taken back to ‘images from memory’ (the artist as well as the viewer), such as a boardwalk, a floor, a room, a wall, a landscape, even a swamp. Consequently, I dare to speak of an intuitive abstraction: Everaert has a reservoir of images in his head that he totally deconstructs, dismantles and fragments, in an attempt to abandon the tiniest trace of the anecdotal, in search of perfect abstraction. Not the white or the black square - that would be totally superfluous or obsolete - but a living abstraction, that sizzles and vibrates. These paintings show a changing rhythm of straight and slanting lines, of planes, hints and colours: a rhythm that seems to be derived from music. One can smell (the paint) and hear (the images): there is a noise to all of it - and it is exactly that noise that Everaert is aiming for.

Marc Ruyters, May 2014