Maaike Schoorel
The Garden

This is one of the most important works Schoorel has made to date, a triptych that has as its subject matter a garden scene with what looks like a pond. One of her largest works, it seems highly suited to a Parisian collection where Monet’s Nympheas in the Orangerie represent the summit of treatments of such subjects. Typically for Schoorel, the painting is as much about absence as presence and examines the amount of information the viewer needs to construct meaning. Delicate stains and touches of paint describe the subject which is contingent and evanescent. These are paintings that require slow readings, allowing the eye to adjust and to assemble information. Time is an important theme in the work; not simply the time it takes to decipher it but time associated with memory, a faculty the painting appears to emblematize. Like all Schoorel’s work, the painting is based on a photograph and therefore a scene she experienced. The temporality of the work is not that of the camera from which the image is derived, but that of painting itself. The Garden was shown in “Visible Invisible : Against the Security of the Real” at Parasol Unit, London from November 2009 to February 2010.

Based on photographs and domestic environments, Schoorel’s paintings are charged with an atmosphere of melancholy and loss. In her paintings images emerge slowly. Her figurative paintings appear faded or bleached with brush strokes that suggest outlines and restrained marks that imply areas of colour or shadow. The viewer must participate in the paintings, employing a particular way of looking that allows the images to unravel slowly over time. The spaces they provide are not only physical, but also conceptual – the freedom to find pleasure in their beauty, or to find consolation in the way in which they transform memory from an image of yesterday into a fresh, present-day experience. Maaike Schoorel was born in 1973 in Santpoort, The Netherlands. She lives and works in London.