Created during a very brief period, from 1989 until her early, unexpected and tragic death at the age of 29, Ilse D'Hollander’s oeuvre exhibits a highly developed sense of color, composition, scale and surface, through the use of subtle tones and pared down compositions. An artist’s artist, her canvases and works on paper favor abstraction, yet subtly allude to the everyday, hinting at nature and the landscape of the Flemish countryside where she spent the last and most productive years of her life.
D’Hollander’s subtly evocative canvases have drawn comparisons to work as various as that of early Piet Mondrian, Nicolas de Staël and Raoul De Keyser – whom she regarded as a friend – her work is distinguished by its contemplative tranquility, ethereal quality and brilliant, deceptive simplicity. The intimate scale of her canvases invites the viewer to embrace a highly personal relationship with the work, where multiple layers of paint, visible brushstrokes and trembling lines of color reveal D’Hollander’s tangible and sensual exploration of the act of painting. In the only text she penned about her work, D’Hollander wrote that, “A painting comes into being when ideas and the act of painting coincide. When referring to ideas, it implies that as a painter, I am not facing my canvas as a neutral being but as an acting being who is investing into the act of painting. My being is present in my action on the canvas.”