About the artist
"Painting is an extremely cumbersome and inefficient way of expressing ideas and emotions. But it is precisely this cumbersomeness and the many limitations of this outdated medium that make it so intriguing".
Kenne Gregoire ( Teteringen, 1951) studied in Amsterdam at the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten. The Haarlem painter Otto B. de Kat was Kenne's most important teacher at the academy and taught him a lot about composition and colour.
Although the artist often used seventeenth-century techniques, in which colours are applied glazing over a grisaille ground, he shows that this does not immediately call for a traditional approach. His works show a great diversity of subjects.
The greatest challenge is to paint the illusion, the suggestion that objects on canvas are three-dimensional, according to the artist. A good example are the works Memories and Clear Memories, both trompe l'oeils of a cabinet with different objects, each symbolising a certain memory.
The detailed elaboration and the light dark contrast create plasticity and depth that suggest three-dimensionality. This seduces the viewer and deceives the eye. In a number of Gregoire's still lifes, however, the perspective is so distorted that the objects and background appear to represent a different perspective. As a result, the artist seems to want to make the viewer aware that we are looking at an illusory piece of reality, framed and only born out of the artist's imagination.
In Grégoire's oeuvre, in addition to still lifes, we also find buildings, landscapes and theatre performances from the Commedia dell' Arte. These contrasting paintings show theatrically dressed people who betray loneliness, despair and desire. These paintings are much more colourful than the still lifes, but in spite of their richness of colour the images radiate not only beauty, but also sadness and decay. The clothing of the figures in Openingsdans, for example, is no longer really festive, but hangs there a bit sloppily. The light is cool and dark skies are visible in the background. The cheerfulness has acquired a sad and threatening undertone.
Whether it is a still life or a scene from the Commedia dell' Arte, all the compositions show wear, decay and beauty. The objects in the still life are never new, things are damaged, dented and rusty, because they have been used a lot and life has passed. They are neutral objects, recognisable to everyone.
The original ground, such as an old tabletop or a set of planks, usually penetrates the painting and thus becomes part of the composition.
In order to give the objects a lived-in impression, Grégoire uses restrained colours, which he applies with great technical skill. The intended result is the creation of beauty. Aesthetics are important to the artist in his painting.