Theo Willemse: The Art of Form

direct link: video (some clips) of Theo's show, The Art of Form.

drama of the view through, frame of sculpture, of carved and polished wood
cuts the scene like a tribal rite

forms with the presence of a Seurat, geometric, rounded, stabilized, and earthy, the bulbs of plants, organic, and that stillness of Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad (1961), intrigue of love, the pursuit that never arrives, this room contains

memories of trees, wood from a special and beloved tree, reborn in sculpture
tree of life

sweet friends
a Joycean moment
their bench in the middle of Ulysses

portrait of the artist as a middle-aged man

take a seat, contemplate life, or how to live
for an hour

come to the end of time with me, rest awhile


direct link: a few photos from Theo Willemse's sculpture show, 'The Art of Form,' 
at SPAZ I O dell'arte on Sep 23rd, 2010. Photos by my daughter and I. Click through to read my inscriptions.

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Sculpture of Theo Willemse

 Sculpture of Theo Willemse

Current Show:

The Art of Form

Opening Thursday Sept 16th, 6-9pm
Exhibition has been extended to Sep 24th, and
perhaps Saturday Sep 25th.

s p a z i o
400 Eastern Avenue
Toronto, ON M4M 1B9
(up the stairs or take the elevator)

(Theo's studio, August 2010)

Theo Willemse is a Dutch-Canadian artist living in Toronto.

"Theo Willemse's work is as it is. He does not promote theories of his art. Theories are up to the viewer, owner, curator, critic. You may find what inspires you in his sculptures.

While Theo is fairly opague on what he is exploring in his art, believing how the pieces speak to you is enough, that the artist creates and then lets go, having watched his oeuvre develop since 1983, I find I have some perceptions to convey.

His work embodies an intricate interplay of internal dynamics. He will tell you, "It's about the shape, and where the texture of the file shows." Or, "Where it disintegrates slightly, that burn, a moment of dissolution, that's it." "Framing -the stands, pillars, or bases- is important, how the piece is presented visually." His sculptures ask us to touch their forms in three dimensions with our eyes.

You feel your way into his sculptures at a primal level: their curves, gaps, lines, textures, materials. In them you can sense the elements, water, fire, earth. The world of rocks, rivers, trees, plants, flowers wind in them. The wings of birds appear. The world of women and feminine form is here. Phallic shape and wombs underlie some of his works, the natural landscapes of the body wrought in abstracted form in stone, metal, plaster. Some are simple geometric shape, yet always with moments in their rhythms where ruptures occur - an unfinished edge, a sudden buckling of a smooth line, a natural crevice like a knot - in these places we can see where the working is raw.

His sculptures speak in smooth lines, gentle curves, certainties, buckles, pitfalls, moments of indecision, of an intertextuality that echoes our internal life within the sculptural forms of our bodies and our surroundings. Like a continuous spiral from the inner to the outer, we find an aesthetic whose tension consists of the struggle of form, its evolving shapes, and the joy of creating."
Brenda Clews, August 2001

Photo credit: Brenda Clews

"These sculptures are models for casting in bronze or matrix, which is a gypsom cement that has the quality of marble. The final sculptures are hand-finished.

The originals are fragile. They are sculpted from an industrial grade styrofoam and worked with fine layers of plaster. Then they are honed with files, sandpapers and sometimes patinas. Often Theo leaves traces of the finishing process in the markings, adds an element of decay by burning edges or penetrations to achieve a disintegrating quality to areas of whiteness. The burnings become moments of smouldering and add syncopation to the rhythms of the sculptural forms.

In his studio, the pieces emit a strange stage-set quality, appearing to be solid plaster sculptures yet light as air. If one fell, it might crack. They radiate under the spot lighting with an apparition-like presence that is strong yet delicate. Each one is a labour of months from inception to finished model. They will be destroyed in the casting process." (Brenda Clews, August 2010)

direct link: Theo Willemse -An Artist's Statement

Theo Willemse is a Dutch-Canadian artist living in Toronto, Canada. He is a sculptor working in wood, resin, fibreglass, plaster, aluminum, black patina cement, marble, concrete mixed with marble chips, neo-Matrix, bronze and other materials. He also works occasionally in paint and drawing, creating on paper similar forms to those he sculpts. Slideshows of his recent works, which were shown at SPAZ I O dell'arte in a solo show in September 2010, may be viewed at his website.

This video is an interview conducted with Theo just prior to his September 2010 show at dell'arte.
Interview and video by Brenda Clews.

Photo credit: Kat Bee and Adrian Henderson

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Lodela and Pas de deux

Lodela by Philippe Baylaucq, 1996, 26 min 24 s. Direct link: Lodela.

Stark and Sublime Poetic Dance.

Mythic, primal, visionary. I watch Lodela over and over, each time finding more elements in the stark simplicity.

The film is in black and white. The camera lovingly caresses the shadows and planes of the dancers bodies. Camera angles change, from witnessing to being in the centre of their motion looking outward. The choreography is organic, flowing with the natural rhythms of the body. I feel the breeze on the reeds, the storm on the ocean, the planets in the sky. The music is ethereal, gentle. Human voices wake us, and we do not drown, but come to life, emerge. We are born.

The whole of a human life is here, in fetal form, our birth, growth, love, death. The Sisyphean task of our life. Longing, desire. The beauty of the body. Motion, its beauty.

The dancers, Jose Navas and Chi Long, are lithe, muscular, perfect specimens of us, and perfect if opposite reflections of each other, taut as dancers, graceful, expressive, minimalist. A slight reminiscence of Butoh in the expression of the dance - yet there is no horror here, rather a beauty of newness. They are soulmates. They are like strange flowers writhing and crawling and jumping and coiling on the white face of the moon. They are the life in the original amoeba of the planet. We watch the primal cell, the fusion of chromosomes, their dance.

They are at the beginning of everything. A film of the birth of rebirth. They are love.

The final image, where he closes his eyes to awaken as her is profound.

This film by Philippe Baylaucq is poetry. A masterpiece.

And then this, oh Duchamp! Especially the ending, exquisitely filmed and edited.

Pas de deux by Norman McLaren, 1968, 13 min 22 s. Direct link: Pas de deux.

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