Based on the renewed interest in abstract painting that has been evident for a while now in a younger generation of artists, the Bonnefantenmuseum has developed an exhibition programme with a revisionist slant. The exhibition Pressing Matter by Dan Walsh (1960 Philadelphia) is presented in this context.

The ornamental abstraction of this veteran American painter is rooted in the economical visual idiom of minimal painting from the 1960's and 70's. Perceptibly inspired by artists like Sol Lewitt (1928 Hartfort, Connecticut – New York 2007), whose work forms an important cornerstone of the Bonnefantenmuseum's collection, Walsh's painting is created within the strict parameters of a grid and square, and follows self-imposed rules and procedures. Although most of the compositions consist of complex combinations of different decorative structures, they appear relaxed and natural, as though they have casually adapted themselves to the picture plane. Looking at the patterns in his paintings evokes a world of associations, ranging from ornamental architecture to fabrics from all corners of the world. Walsh thus succeeds in bridging the gap between a modernist tradition that strives for autonomy and the collective history of applied arts.

Dan Walsh: Pressing Matter, Bonnefantenmuseum 2019, Photo Manor Lux
Photo: Manor Lux

Dan Walsh is also a fervent book maker. In a series of handmade books, he experimented with the art of printing, not only with offset print and photography, but also with photogravure and woodcut, and etching techniques like drypoint: traditional reproduction methods that require dedication, patience and craftsmanship. The Bonnefantenmuseum has brought together twelve recent paintings, a series of works on paper and a few handmade books. The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue.

Dan Walsh: Pressing Matter, Bonnefantenmuseum 2019, Photo Peter Cox
Photo: Peter Cox

Curator: Paula van den Bosch.