Galerie Gabriel Rolt is delighted to present ‘Square moon’, the Dutch artist Marijn Akkermans’ third solo exhibition with the gallery. Mysteries and metaphors bound in Akkermans’ works, played out through the materiality of his drawings. Their subjects feel familiar yet alienated, reminiscent of film noirs and fairytales, like collective narratives that have assumed lives of their own.
Though their impact is black and white, Akkermans’ drawings are complex configurations of translucencies and opacities which impart subtle differentiations of colour. He builds up his images with an unorthodox mix of techniques, using ink, coloured pencils, gesso, poster paint and collage. These multiple modes of expression unsettle the pictorial illusion, creating different orders of realism. They describe figures that are shadowy and ethereal, a part of shifting currents of darkness and light through which their minds appear to wander.
Peopling Akkermans’ pictures are archetypal characters that have twisted free from convention. Nurses, teddybears and businessmen have cavorted in previous works, while strange shifts in scale suggest a child’s vulnerable and unknowing perspective. Here though the figures are less recognizable and their roles more ambivalent. Dawn depicts a resting woman supporting two smaller figures asleep on her lap. Behind her pile sleeping bodies whose coiling shapes echo the lines of the foreground figures so that the whole composition becomes a satisfying rhythm of serpentine curves. What appears at face value to be a peaceful image of maternal protection has sinister undertones of collective suicide.