About The Alchemy series

"The Alchemy Series" by Jeroen Carelse - Acrylic - 2019

The Alchemy Series is a quadtych, four related paintings, about a concept in the alchemy: Transmutation. These paintings started after two days of disastrous efforts to “paint”. It seems that when I set out to paint something concretely it goes haywire. I mean, when I know how to visualize a concept I seem to go off on the wrong path.

It ain’t always the case, I think, but there is a threshold of “knowingness” that should not be crossed. If I think I know how to visually communicate one of those ethereal concepts, and, follow my instant rules: wrong. The Alchemy series had such a moment but I could break the spell. I started out with five red canvases but the first canvas was this case of “knowingness” that had taken over.

Only after the destruction of that canvas I liberated myself and the painting began. For a long time I enjoyed the act of painting, not thinking, just enjoyment. As often in my day, I work intensely for a while and then take a break where I often watch an art related video. Whilst working on these paintings I saw videos on among others:

And most importantly the documentary “Turning The Art World Inside Out” hosted by Alan Yentob. This is going to be my compulsory video to watch for any student in any creative field. This alongside “The Century of Self” by Adam Curtis.

What emerged where ideas about contrast in material which I expressed with impasto and knife works against fine brushstrokes that made a subtle gradient. There was the idea of border and, inside and outside which is the thin light line that lays as a female horizon at the lower half of the works. The border is penetrated or, something is reflected through this border.

The works raise more questions than I have answers for. This is for me a sign I have done something, paintingly…