Amsterdam

René Daniëls

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

“It always comes down to painting,” René Daniëls once said, a statement that resonates with some dissonance across a body of work permeated through and through with writing, word games, literary references, visual puns, and allusions to art movements, institutions, and mass media. Yet walking through the artist’s recent show, I was in fact struck by the immediacy and dynamism of paintings, mostly medium- to large-scale, that ranged from hectic cartoons to monumental portraiture. Engaged in an ongoing dialogue with gouache and watercolor-and-ink drawings, the canvases are animated by fluid brushstrokes, broad fields of color laid down in transparent and semi-opaque layers, and forms that have been flattened, simplified, or outlined. One has a strong sense of painterly spontaneity and control, of free gesture and concentrated reflection. As the works here evince, Daniëls can and indeed does

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