Michaël de Kok

Late Light

05.09.2021 - 30.10.2021

"I am a landscape man at heart, an outdoorsman. Every morning I go for a walk with the dog, in  dark weather or bright sunshine. That's my source, and I enjoy it. It's not that when I come back I then start reproducing that landscape, but the impressions stay in my head. It's been that way since childhood, my father was also a landscape painter, we were made aware of that as children."

Looking at the works of Michaël de Kok, feeling his love for nature and landscape, indeed one cannot help but (re)recognize the source of his painting. His paintings are never the replacement of landscape, of nature, they are a reflection of the experience of that nature. It is the landscapes that live in De Kok's head and they are not an attempt, for example, to reproduce exactly the incidence of light in a particular place. Yet light plays a major role in his paintings, his perception of light. Sometimes he shows a landscape where a spot of light demands attention, where the eye is drawn to and where we imperceptibly enter the painting. The painter seduces us to enter his experience and it is precisely this that makes his work so fascinating and intriguing.

Besides the works that are still recognizable as mountainous landscapes or hilly natural paradises in which he likes to wander, there are the abstract inclined endless plains with a more or less clear horizon where heaven and earth meet in our perception, the flat land that is ours but still surrounded with some mystery. The light plays a predominant role here as well, and this is also the case in a number of paintings he made during the corona period where forest walks were an alternative to the distant treks.

Besides his landscapes, or rather their reflection in the spirit of Michaël de Kok, there are the purely abstract works, the monochromes and the diptychs or triptychs. These paintings are not so monochrome; you can discover various gradations, touches or accents in them if you make the effort to look. They are meant to rest the gaze, to experience the depths and above all a delightful attempt to convey the experience of light on a canvas of paint.

I would like to conclude with another quote from Michaël de Kok, a quote from several years ago but still relevant: "During the painting process there is a moment when the painted image displaces the image of the memory, the real of the memory gives way to the suggestion of the painted." And that suggestion, in turn, becomes reality in your and our minds, the viewer's mind.

Daan Rau
August 2021