TOUCHER L'HORIZON: ADAM BOGEY — HERMAN DE VRIES
Australia and the Amazon, powerless alongside the rest of the planet. Low, tortured, torn, these streaks of colour are charged with the contemporary fears of a despairing nature that has always fascinated and that museums have been hanging on their walls for centuries. The sense of the sublime to be found in the paintings of Claude Lorrain or Turner and in Delacroix's studies of the sky echoes strangely with the kitsch of the deafening iconographic base of the sunset photographs that the beginnings of the digital era exploited to great effect. The distant, omnipresent and vast space that is the sky, fantasised to excess, is here reduced to a primary, crude and sometimes coarse breath, that of an oil pastel tracing a mysterious blend.
What might be seen as a reminder of prehistoric tracing appears differently in the essential gesture of herman de vries' hand. On the surface of From earth, on paper, he sprinkles earth from different parts of the world and spreads it with his fingertips (mostly his thumb) in straight, regular movements. This effleurement engages a behaviour that should resonate with each and every one of us: caressing, becoming aware of and contemplating the ground on which we walk. Through this ritual gesture, the artist makes sacred what he touches and offers to be seen. By extracting the supposed banality of what we tend to enclose in concrete, and bringing it to the wall, he gives it back the full extent of its importance.