LEUVEN, BELGIUM

Pieter Vermeersch, 8 Paintings I, 1999, eight oil-on-canvas paintings, each 16 1⁄2 × 13 3⁄4".

Pieter Vermeersch, 8 Paintings I, 1999, eight oil-on-canvas paintings, each 16 1⁄2 × 13 3⁄4".

Pieter Vermeersch

M-MUSEUM

The clearest and most unequivocal feeling that viewers gleaned from this show of Pieter Vermeersch’s work—conceived by the artist specifically for the spaces of M-Museum in Leuven and curated by Eva Wittocx—was one of complete immersion, space after space, in what we might call the essence of painting: thought distilled into color. Vermeersch provided this potent sensory experience in part via the installation of five monumental painted walls, or what he calls “gradient murals.” He achieved the murals’ monochrome fading via innumerable tonal variations—yet the effect felt physically real, as if some organic and photosensitive process were taking place right before one’s eyes.

In fact, many of the artist’s images have a photographic origin. Each component of 8 Paintings I, 1999, for example, takes the same photograph as a point of departure: a detail of a windshield and a windshield wiper.

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