Abstract Realism or Algorithmic Magic at Frank Taal Gallery, Rotterdam

Random Probability Infused Colourfield Diaframe
Mike Ottink 2020 Oil on canvas 200x 145cms

A joint exhibition by Diederick Van Kleef and Mike Ottink.

The most famous modern Dutch artist is undoubtedly Piet Mondrian. Evidence of his influence, especially in architecture and interior design, are apparent throughout the Netherlands.

When Diederick Van Kleef discovered that Mondrian’s paintings were constantly being corrected or improved by the artist, he decided to investigate further and for the past twelve years he has been producing paintings that reflect and demonstrate the master’s work in a modern context. Some of the paintings on show are indistinguishable from Mondrian but with most of them it is apparent that Van Kleef has taken the basic idea and run with it, finding new ways of presenting shapes, lines and prime colours.

Van Kleef and Mike Ottink have known each other for over twenty years. Although their work appears very different, it has a lot in common. The work of both artists is thought out; theories are developed and formulae applied. A lot of Ottink’s work borders on OpArt and there are echoes of Vasarely, an artist now long out of fashion.

But for me, it is the freer works that succeed best. I really like the large painting Random Probability Infused Colourfield Diaframe which is one of the most recent works in the show. But better than that were the books. Three large, and very expensive Moleskin sketch books, each full of beautifully executed small mixed media compositions, are there to be thumbed through but the books I really liked were the ones presented in frames on the wall.

Without close inspection they just look like framed pictures but a closer look reveals them to be double spreads from open books. The frames can be opened and the pages turned allowing a never ending choice and kaleidoscope of the artist’s work.

As always, Frank Taal exhibits exciting and eclectic work which stimulates the mind and the senses. With Abstract Realism or Algorithmic Magic he presents a show which is very much at home in the context this great Dutch city. The exhibition runs until 10th October.  Michael Hasted   21st September 2020