Rob de Oude, Unison, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and McKenzie Fine Art
McKenzie Fine Art starts the new year with Unison, an exhibition of recent abstract paintings by Rob de Oude, in his second solo outing with the gallery. De Oude’s precise and optically vibrant compositions are never computer generated; rather, they are patiently crafted entirely by hand, through a slow and careful cumulative process.
Rob de Oude creates his patterned geometric oil paintings through a process of repeating and overlapping bands of color in a grid formation. Working in a square format ranging from 12 to 72 inches, de Oude uses a specially designed rig that allows him to render his colored lines straight and evenly spaced, with their width determined by the choice of brush. His colors, as well as their translucency and opacity, are modulated through careful mixture and varying density of application. The resultant paintings are luminous, possessing subtly shifting color, shifting depth and volume, and most remarkably, a mysterious and atmospherically glowing inner light. As de Oude notes:
Each line crosses the surface, entering and exiting the work in a rhythmic buildup of fading or amplifying hues, producing, in unison, a harmony where the sum becomes more than its parts…These new works employ structure-based methods to create soft, amorphous shifts, glows and contrasts, with sometimes illusionistic, perceptual or pareidolic phenomena that are derived from the painting process, as opposed to fully formed, preconceived notions. Colors, gradations and color shifts are mixed on the spot. Once a painted layer is finished it is put aside for drying, during which there is time to contemplate new color combinations and color shifts. It is all a pretty fluid and intuitive process.
Rob de Oude hails from The Netherlands but has been based in New York for decades. He creates patterned, linear oil paintings by layering multiple bands of color in a grid structure. De Oude makes his paintings with a specially designed easel in a square format; its adjustable guide allows him to carefully measure and vary the spaces between the color lines while also enabling him to skew them diagonally when desired. By shifting colors and altering the opacity, translucency, and width of the painted lines, de Oude creates luminous works that appear to glow from within while also suggesting woven surfaces or even plaid textiles. Because of their precision and optical vibrancy, his paintings are frequently assumed to be computer generated, but they are carefully and patiently crafted by hand.
Rob de Oude (b. 1970, Den Helder, Netherlands) studied painting, sculpture, and art history at the Hoge School voor de Kunsten in Amsterdam and attended graduate school at SUNY Purchase, NY. He settled permanently in New York in 1997, and his paintings have been exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions in museums and galleries in the United States and Europe for the past thirty years. De Oude’s work has been featured in ARTnews, The New Criterion, Artnet, and L Magazine, among others. The artist maintains a studio in Brooklyn and he is a founding member and co-director of the Bushwick gallery Transmitter.