‘Painting is dead’ and since Richter everything seems to have been painted. These days, however, we get even more confronted with what is called ‘contemporary painting’. And concerning that fact, it’s remarkable how often is referred, in one or another way, to images that form part of our so called common memory, to facts belonging to the past, though they seem to be so important that they remained in our minds. Anyhow, many get seized by it, mollified. For many of us, painting is here again since quite some time.
Yves Beaumont (ºOostende, Belgium, 1970) belongs to the new Flemish ‘Painters legion’. However, mind the fact that there is quite some more painting going on besides that new levy, and it’s obvious I am talking about the so called New Flemish Painting school, that actually doesn’t really exist, like there has never been such thing as one in Bruges, though all painters from Bruges who didn’t leave their town and did their job inspired, though rather somewhat virtuous, suddenly belonged to the ‘Bruges School’. Yves Beaumont belongs to a group of young Flemish painters who are finding a following. Together with that of a few others, his works already represented Flanders at the end of 1997 in the, much talked-of, art project ‘Flanders/Catalonia’ in Barcelona, while last year he was asked to participate in a project on contemporary Flemish art in the Pulchri Studio in The Hague.
It seems like he never had another theme than ‘landscapes’, but then in the most general sense. Recently though, the work has taken a turn on painterly scale. As where he used to make the figuration, that invariably is his starting point, sink into the paint (although in a subtile and sensitive way) it seems we’ll now get a clearer vision of the landscape in the paintings that also seem to have become ‘smoother’, that it’ll yield up its deepest secrets. Beaumont clearly started to paint more ‘open’. His works have started as it were a dialogue with the perceptibility of that given landscape. That link increases the challenge. Water surfaces, lines of trees, reflections and faint silhouettes can be recognized. Elements of landscapes are painted, worked on, renewed and overpainted again in thin layers. They appear as veils of grey-blue and ethereal whites, clearly referring to an emotive approach, or a vague memory. Figurative elements out of an estranged landscape become ‘signs’ that lead their own life resulting in what we call ‘the painting’ in the end.
Beaumont paints on what art history has given us. No innovation without tradition. And that’s his leitmotif. He paints, draws and doesn’t search for innovation in a forced way, doesn’t cut capers, doesn’t search for sensation. Essential given elements become reproduced in a painterly way and become witnesses of a contemporary ‘image-thinking’. He notes, fixes and almost invents a new reality. He’s a young painter whose work has been laureated since his early twenties. ‘Inspiration is a word for lazy artists’ has once been said. For Beaumont, painting has become a way of thinking, a continuity. Every drawing and every painting are like a new page in a diary. Except for the fact he doesn’t do it with a pen, not with words and sentences, but with paint or charcoal. His oeuvre shows simplification, is sensitive and suggestive.