Els Moes Glancing trough Time
by Alex de Vries (translation Jan Koks)
Els Moes creates paintings which are the result of manifest actions in paint. She does this in a calculated way. The outcome, however, is never certain beforehand. The paint on her canvasses has an output which is totally unpredictable. However sober she works, the result is far from sober. The paintings seem to be made scantily, but in fact, lots and lots of time, work and effort have been put into them. The resolve which lies at the basis of starting a new painting goes hand-in-hand with the conviction that minute labour has to be carried out. The paintings are abstract, yet, in their tangible form –paint on canvas- just not. In whatever way the paint has been fixed, the painting responds to the susceptibility of the perception, which changes during the expiring of the light. It is never flat or monochrome.
In fact, every artist has to re-invent art. With him or her, art starts all over again. Everything has been done already, but the artist has not accomplished anything yet. Every painting that is created manifests itself coming out of total darkness. One has to grope one’s way along, starting by what one has seen once. A painting by Els Moes is a variation of archaeological research, in a metaphorical, expressive sense.
Before she started her study at the Academy of Arts, she worked at the State Service for Archaeological Investigations (NL). Paying attention to tracks of history in the soil and the excavation thereof, has taken on a specific shape in her paintings. Tracks on the canvas can be accurately traced, precisely because it is a matter of fundamental research into the behaviour of paint on the canvas. Of course, this is due to the fact that the painting is realised during a careful and focussed working-process.
It is evident that Els Moes relates to the category, which in art-history, is called ‘fundamental’. Yet, there are references to minimalism, painting-of-matter, the ‘Zero-movement’ and the ‘arte povera’. Movements at the end of the 50-ies and the early 60-ies of the 20th century form the basis of her work within which she carries out her soil-research in paint: digging and trying to find the meaning of the art of painting as a medium. Something is brought to the surface. Her paintings do not give a clear image, but emphatically portray their real selves: landscapes in paint, executed in relief. The painting captures the light and in doing so applies a signature onto the paint. Space is created. Exactly because of the limited use of materials the wide-ranging intangibility is investigated. With their image the paintings glance through time. Traces are revealed. Els Moes paints in black and white. Very scarcely she uses colour.Els Moes’ art distinguishes itself because it immediately loses it’s visual unambiguousness once you start indulging yourself in the way the work has come into being, which, by the way, can be read from the external form of the work. The well-considered intentions which lay at the basis of each painting are, by means of the manual, craft-like procedure, solved in emotional reflections. Symbolic work is the result of this process in which the incompatibilities are brought into line with one another. And that is something over which one continues to be surprised when looking at the paintings.
Concentration, control and discipline form the trinity in her work. All the lines in the paintings are drawn one by one. Practically every association is avoided. Anything that might present itself nevertheless is objectified as much as possible. The paintings break away from any personal consideration. Yet, the paintings still are the result of extremely personal motives. They radiate that they are created during long-lasting sessions in attentive quietness. The essence of what she wants to show is transmitted to her painting. That is why her work all the more emphatically, continually deals with the difference between the painting and the visible reality. In showing that, she avoids any suspicion of straining after effect. All actions she carries out therefore, are constructive elaborations of inevitable impressions.
Els Moes is very aware of what forms the basis, is the source of her work: her heritage, her descent, existence and destiny. She brings them in line in compositions that might be equalled when executed in music. Every shift in the rhythm causes a different tone, causing power to become vulnerable and sensitivity strength. During the process of painting the actions become a treatise, a lecture.
Alex de Vries
Translation Jan Koks