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April – June 2021

Mendes Wood DM São Paulo is pleased to present Maaike Schoorel’s second exhibition in Brazil. All about the animal brings together recent paintings which reflect on nature and illusion through light.

Schoorel begins her paintings through photographing landscapes, diluting the shapes found in her images into layers of light. Pandas, dogs, and unicorns emerge from layers of hazy pastel colored strokes, almost as if mythologized by the artist. Her paintings depict simple moments such as the movement of water on a lake or wind rustling a tree—a camouflage of the Anthropocene's gaze at unconventional bodies and beings.

Schoorel's work contemplates the superficiality of human life, provoking an ambivalence between nature and its artificial construction. Everyday life manifests itself in painting as a tool for looking; Schoorel's spectral forms evoke a sense of spirituality, giving depth to her animals' existence.

To decode the subjects concealed in Schoorel’s brushwork, her audience must adopt a slower approach to looking that allows space to combine visual perception with the imagination. Descriptive titles seem to mislead the viewer, who is initially confronted with an illusion of abstraction whose contents hover in a melée of colors. Schoorel’s paintings ask that we remain present within the experience of looking and understanding - resisting the need for immediate image-gratification that prevails within the circulation of images we encounter day-to-day. 

What is eventually presented through this sustained contemplation is neither the immediacy of the photographic snapshot nor the restaged scene's labor. Instead, Schoorel’s work gives space for her subjects to reveal themselves and to be reinterpreted by the viewer.

Maaike Schoorel (b. 1973, Santpoort) lives and works in Amsterdam.
Her recent solo exhibitions include Vera Icon, Kunstverein Amsterdam, Amsterdam (2021 - forthcoming); Maaike Schoorel at Van Wassenhove House, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Sint-Martens-Latem (2020); London | New York | Rome | Amsterdam, Gemeente Museum, The Hague, (2017); Conversation Piece Part 2, Fondazione Memmo, Rome (2016); Maaike Schoorel, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (2012); Maaike Schoorel - Zelfportretten & Stillevens, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, London (2011); Album, Museum de Hallen, Haarlem (2008).

Her group shows include Inner Spaces, 7th edition of the Painting Bienalle, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Sint-Martens-Latem (2020); Chapter 3HREE, Het HEM, Zaandam (2020); Binnenshuis, Mendes Wood DM, Brussels, Belgium (2020); Garden of Earthly Delights, Martin Gropius Bau Museum, Berlin (2019); Rumoer in de Stad, Gemeente Museum, The Hague (2017); The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed, 20th Sydney Biennale, Sydney (2016); Salon Hang, Kunstverein Amsterdam, Amsterdam (2015); Landscape: the Virtual, the Actual, the Possible?, Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, Guangdong, touring to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2014); How Soon is Now?, Manifesta Foundation & DutchCulture, Amsterdam (2014); Variations: Conversations in and around Abstract Painting, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2014); Painting Between the Lines, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, California College of the Arts, San Francisco (2011); British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet, Hayward Touring Exhibitions (2010); and Eyes Wide Open – New to the Collection, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008).

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