A Colour Has Many Layers
A Colour Has Many Layers
3 – 5 September 2021, 12-18h
Oetewalerstraat 73 in Amsterdam
Mini Galerie proudly presents A Colour Has Many Layers, the solo exhibition by Liesbeth Piena opening on Thursday the 2nd of September at a temporary location at Oetewalerstraat 73 in the east of Amsterdam. On the occasion of the granting of the Sieger White Award and the release of her new publication Liesbeth Piena will showcase a series of oil paintings and textile works created in collaboration with the Textile Museum in Tilburg.
Liesbeth Piena (1993) makes powerful paintings in which plants and natural landscapes are reduced to essential forms. She looks at reality with an analytical eye, in which small details attract her attention. From her observations she isolates striking fragments and uses them to compose new images. Liesbeth Piena is prize winner of the Sieger White Award 2020 for talented young artists.
The Sieger White Award is named after the artist couple Fred Sieger (1902-1999) and Helen Sieger-White (1911-2010), who had a deep desire to encourage young talent. Since 2012, the Sieger White Award has been presented every two years in the Netherlands to young, up-and-coming artists up to 35 years of age from the eastern part of the country. The award consists of a publication worth €25,000 and an exhibition at a renowned gallery in the western part of the Netherlands.
Please note, this exhibition is held at a new temporary location at Oetewalerstraat 73 in Amsterdam, and will not take place at the gallery’s current address at Hannie Dankbaarpassage.
‘It’s not about plants,’ the artist says. In the meantime however, the studio features a table full of houseplants, close to each other in pots, each with different leaves, ready to be used as models. They provide guidance when painting, act as an anchor of form. When Liesbeth Piena starts painting, she thins out the image, removes a stem, zooms in on a detail, changes the colour, follows the contour of the leaf. Plants become paintings. Leaves become planes, green becomes red. Now it’s about colour, dynamics and contrast. This is how we should interpret the artist’s statement when she says that it is not about plants.
A plant grows, it is a continuously developing form and even if we can’t perceive it, we add it as know ledge in our perception. It seems important to the artist that a plant is alive. It is not her intention to depict nature in a large scale, as a landscape. She wants to include an element of it in her work. This activates the image. For years, she has been using plants alongside other elements from her surroundings, such as a vase, a window or the rhythm of the blinds. Straight lines offer contrast to the organic plant forms and make them stand out.
Piena initially studied graphic design but switched to painting. She wanted less computer work and more handcraft, and made a side subject her main subject. And it still is, years after finishing art school. She has her studio in a former school building in Arnhem, a class room overlooking a busy intersection, with people waiting or crossing to go shopping. She alternates studio life with fanatical cycling. Painting stands for the introspective world, while physical action outside is just as important. Mobility connects the two worlds. In the one case rather literally, where the bicycle rides also provide visual input. In the other case, during the act of painting, the mobility is an inner force that is projected onto the canvas; it gives the work spirit.
The horizontal planes in Piena’s work have not been painted with a ruler nor taped. Although the artist has a preference for tight and minimal lines, she wants to paint them by hand. It must also be possible for things to go wrong; imperfections are part of the game. This makes it real; it allows us to feel the artist’s signature in the result.
(Text by Jurriaan Benschop from Liesbeth Piena’s publication A Colour Has Many Layers)