Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium introduce new Thomas Houseago exhibition

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium introduce new Thomas Houseago exhibition
Credit: The Royal Museums of Fine Arts

A new exhibition by British artist Thomas Houseago is open from now until 1 August, presented by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB).

The exhibition comprises large-scale paintings, drawings and never-before-exhibited journals.

Titled VISION PAINTINGS, it will occupy two first floor galleries of the museum in a parallel display to the permanent collection.

“The artist’s work is also brought into confrontation with The Death of Marat (1793) by Jacques-Louis David,” explained RMFAB.

“In this gallery, viewers are invited to contemplate the emotional tenor of the neoclassical and contemporary works, as well as their formal differences and shared points of connection.”

The RMFAB says the landscape paintings in the exhibition mark a major departure for Houseago: “Executed in Malibu, California, and frequently en plein air—evidenced by the organic matter trapped on their surfaces—they give full expression to the transcendental, emotive and restorative power of nature.”

Thomas Houseago was born in Leeds in the UK in 1972, and studied art at London’s Central St. Martin’s college in the early 1990’s before moving to Amsterdam to study at de Ateliers, according to Xavier Hufkens, one of Europe’s leading contemporary art galleries.

Houseago then lived in Brussels for several years, where he had his first solo debut with Xavier Hufkens. In 2004, he relocated to Los Angeles where he now continues to live and work.

“What a strange, truly surreal experience to have the world shut down—slowed, tuned inwards—and confront its vulnerability,” the artist said of his return to the Belgian capital.

“The cyclical nature of being brought from seclusion into the city of my youth, and now embraced with the support of its curators and museum, where I would spend countless hours as a young artist, represents an indescribable connection.”

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The works in the exhibit are said to be somewhat different from his recent ones.

“The landscape has long been a vital proportional reference point and context for his figurative sculptures, yet rarely visualised as an independent subject,” said RMFAB.

“Now, nature takes centre stage: suns and moons, flowers and trees, rocks and ocean are all rendered in opulent, luminescent colours and pulsating, undulating lines. Nature feels primal, mysterious and seductive, all powerful and resplendent.”

Alongside these landscapes, Houseago exhibits “a suite of transcendental works with figures emerging from an indeterminate, pitch black space that is shot through with scintillating flashes of pure, blinding colour. While certain images allude to death and past trauma, others suggest a dynamic process of transformation.”

The exhibit will be held at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium on Rue de la Régence from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Tuesday through Friday, and from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekends.

More information can be found on the official website.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times

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