Eva Steynen gallery _Fred Michiels_Not naked but undressed_web


Not naked, but undressed

17.03 - 27.04.2024


> 27.04: Music Performance 'Ottist Freddy and his visible Orchestra' 


'Not naked, but undressed' is Fred Michiels’ third solo show at Eva Steynen Gallery. Those familiar with Michiels' work will know that his exhibitions are forever surprising, in both approach and form. This time around he is not only presenting a new series of paintings and works on paper, but also joyful new ceramics and transparent glass works that stand in the space and hang against or at odds with the wall…

As always, Michiels also made a playful booklet for the occasion of his exhibition, assembling his 'surrealist' poems and pamphlets with a selection of recent works.


Painter and poet Fred Michiels (°B 1966, lives and works in Sambreville) has fully dedicated himself to abstraction in all its propositions and forms. The artist continually creates new challenges for himself: he paints in order to create spaces of possibility. Visual information from a variety of sources, cultural references and abstract forms alike, intermingle in a cheerful way. His work is instinctive and unplanned; straightforward and free. The abstractions are never limiting, but rich in visual experiences.


For almost 30 years and with a great sense of humour, Michiels has investigated the status of painting. In that endeavour, the early figurative aspects of his painting slowly disappeared, making way for form, colour, and painted matter. New since some years are his colourful ceramics and transparent glass objects.

Unconventional grounds, such as antique postal items, books, used passports, antique vases... are drawn into a two- or three-dimensional industriousness of oils, spray-paint, glitter and acrylics. Large and small formats engage in a visual dialogue.


Language has always played an important role in Michiels’ oeuvre; and in recent years, words and images increasingly enhance each other. The works bear humorous titles that refer to an evolving manifestation of ironic self-reflection that echoes our extraordinary current times.

Treatment of the ground remains important. Rich, painterly textures are patiently applied, layer by layer. They are only removed or overpainted to distil a hidden depth of bright colours. In his new series, the sometimes fluorescent, upper layers accentuate fragmented echoes of his oeuvre. There are no ugly colours or colour combinations in Fred Michiels’ work: he transforms them into joyful atonal compositions.


Fred Michiels studied painting and drawing at Sint-Lucas, Antwerp (1984 - 88) and Cooper Union, with Katherine Bradford, New York (1993 – 96). Numerous exhibitions will follow in Belgium and abroad including C.C. Strombeek-Bever, CC De Warande, Turnhout; Ottilia Pribilla and Annie Gentils gallery (Antwerp); 'Fading' curated by Sven van der Stichelen (Brussels); Exit 11 (Gembloux, B); Brakke Grond (Amsterdam, NL); Bikini Wax (Mexico City); Antea (Santa-Cruz de Tenerife); Arthur (Herzele, B); Syndicat of Belgium Painters (Borgloon, B), Art The Hague (NL), Gallery Borssenanger, Chemnitz (D), Positions Art Fair (Berlin), Eva Steynen Gallery, Art on Paper Brussel, Luxembourg Art Week.


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