Laurens Legiers is not shy about proclaiming his love for Caspar David Friedrich and other Romantic painters of the era, but rather than focus on human figures confronting the sublime, he zeros-in on moments of serene clarity just left of center. These are meditative compositions, both in content and process. A fleet of ships on the ocean are distilled to surreal geometric abstractions through the artist’s brush—ce n'est pas un tableau romantique—it could be Magritte ruminating on the uncanny in a narrative stripped of its narrative. Snails convening on tree branches on a sunny day become allegories of their own existence, the golden ratios they carry on their backs emblematic of the artist himself circling, but never quite reaching divinity.
Legiers’ works are not confrontations with his canvases, but rather zen-like contemplations with paint. He frequently dabs his brushes instead of stroking to hide his own relationship to the work, transforming his compositions from renderings to windows facing serenity, his hand disappearing entirely. These moments are presented in direct contrast to his depictions of water and sky, where the brush becomes a subject in and of itself, its textural grooves visible to the naked eye. These are nice paintings.
The whole of his practice is one body of work, each exhibition another circuit toward the center of the spiral in a snail’s shell. if only is the artist’s death of ego, a true peace-within-process.
Laurens Legiers (b. 1994, Belgium) lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. Drawing on images and atmospheric qualities of the Romantic period, Legiers reinvents signature tropes to create his own perplexing yet captivating visual library, paying homage to the beauty and harmony found in snapshots of everyday life. Recent exhibitions include if only, Nicodim, New York(2023, solo); DISEMBODIED, Nicodim, New York (2023); Dusk till Dawn, PLUS- ONE Gallery, Antwerp (2022, solo); Walking, running, falling, L21 Gallery, Mallorca (2022); A Veil of Thoughts, Gallery Vacancy, Shanghai (2021, solo); Rewinding, Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles (2021); Nature Morte, The Hole, New York (2021); Soft Thoughts, PLUS-ONE Gallery, Antwerp (2020, solo); Universes 3, WOAW Gallery, Hong Kong (2020); Arcades, Base Alpha, Antwerp (2019).
if only is Legiers’ first solo exhibition with Nicodim, and his first in the US.