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Indepth Arts News:

"Avery Preesman - Bedrock"
2001-12-15 until 2002-02-17
Stedelijk Museum
Amsterdam, , NL

Avery Preesman (1968) makes an unconventional contribution to the Stedelijk's presentations of contemporary painters, a series that has focused on Robert Zandvliet and Thomas Scheibitz thus far. In addition to works on canvas, sculptures feature prominently in Preesman's exhibition 'Bedrock'.

Rocky ground enclosed, a work-title used by Preesman in 1998 in his studio, inspired his good friend Maarten van Hinte to write a poem called Bedrock: 'Not just me. Tens. Hundreds. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people washing ashore, layer after layer. Layer after layer of idle talk, wasted time and spent lives: I, me, mine' (a fragment from the poem).

The exhibition Bedrock at the Stedelijk presents work produced since 1997 by Curaçao- born Preesman, whose work could be seen in Couplet 4 in 1995 and in Sublime forms with a visibility of 5 m in 1996. In 1992, when Preesman began to apply himself seriously to painting and studied at the Ateliers in Amsterdam, he started to make tramline and stepped paintings. His first wall-sculpture dates from late 1993, a cement benchlike structure partly painted brown and derived from the stepped paintings.

All kinds of ideas incite Preesman to knead, press and push his work. Many of his canvases display a restrained use of colour and parabolic or T-shaped signs which give specific direction to the solid-looking paintings. The various layers often seem to collide with and grate on each other, setting the figure/ground relationship awry and creating a kind of three-dimensionality. They bear a certain similarity to the wall-sculptures: palisade-like (de)constructions of wood or metal, wrapped in foam-filler and coated with plaster or a granular layer of chalk-grey sand-cement, sometimes with applications of greasepaint. These tectonics give the pieces a heavy, rocklike character, like basalt. Nevertheless, they take up scarcely any physical space, their function in the exhibition space seeming rather to define position. His paintings possess the same quality; in Bedrock they will be hang together with the sculptures. The term 'decomposed' painting has been used in connection with Preesman's work. Enriched with the canvases and sculptures the four rooms comprising Bedrock' lose their severe architectural constraints and something of their definitive character.

Avery Preesman - Bedrock is accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Ulrich Loock. Stedelijk Museum Bulletin no.1 /2002 will carry an interview with the artist.

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