‘The Essence of Absence’
How to express absence by using material resources? It is technically a serious challenge and philosophically a contradictio in terminis. Yet the suggestion of absence is essential in the selection of works by Frank Kenis for this exhibition. At the centre of a number of these paintings, we can see a monolith or a building resembling a monolith. No doors, no windows. It is predominant yet undefined and, therefore, open for all interpretations. Pure potentiality. Like a magnet, it attracts our attention without giving away what it is. One of the large paintings has a tent-like shelter at its center, with a dominant black opening. We are sucked into it as if it was a black hole in the universe. It is a poetical suggestion of the void: empty of materiality but full of potentiality. Could it be spiritual? The equivalent in nature of pure potentiality is snow: a white natural canvas open for any new beginning. Another metaphor in animal life this time for pure potentiality is the cocoon: a womb of possibilities. Snowscapes and cocoons are numerous among the themes depicted.
The general mood is austere, almost monastic.
People seemed to be dressed or undressed for some sort of ritual that transports us to the misty origins of time. They have become themselves nebulous, cloudy creatures, almost transparent. There is an ongoing friction between being here and simultaneously elsewhere, between defined and undefined. They are here and not here. Their transparency thus - in a curious way - suggests ‘time’ on the canvas.
Predominant colours are shades of blueish green … like the colour of glass. Has the canvas been turned into a window? Or are we dwelling in oceanic depths?
Absence is what is not.
Frank Kenis paints what is not.