The cool of the day

The garden is typical for most of allotment-Flanders: a short-mown lawn, a few neatly cut hedges, a tree older than the garden itself and small buildings that are used as sheds. While I look at this garden I am surprised by the fact that none of the urban, political, sociological or anthropological aspects of this garden are present in Koelman’s paintings, and that is their great quality. His paintings are neither petty-bourgeois representations of one’s own piece of land, mistaken for art by the sunday-painter, nor are they the decorative concluding piece of a country-style so popular in Flanders, that shows in its furnishing of the garden how the brickstone house seems to belong to the fermette-style, but, in its decorative additions has evolved towards a rectory cottage. All of this Koelman leaves aside in his small landscape-paintings when he sets up his easel in this garden and makes paintings that work like small enigmas. He knows how to create mental rooms of this garden, thoughts and moods made with paint on canvas. The painter knows what he does and he knows that painting is a different way of thinking. A kind of knowledge which is older and more fundamental than the positivistic approach that rules the world nowadays.  Jeroen Laureyns.