Symmetry is the backbone of the paintings of Raymond Lemstra, in which two circles – on either side of the dividing line between two halves of a mirrored image – always return. This basic geometric form keeps his work away from complete abstraction, as it inevitably is interpreted as a pair of eyes. ‘That form is so embedded in our visual lexicon as the sign for an eye that we immediately recognize it as such, whether that was the original intention or not,’ Raymond elaborates. Despite this phenomenon of pareidolia (the imagined perception of human features), which makes us see his images as mask-like portraits with an individual character and expression, he eschews all narrative. The placement of one form determines the next, in an associative sequence of actions.
Raymond lived in Seoul KR form 2016 to 2019. And whereas he had previously built up texture using posters and stickers found on the streets of Seoul as the irregular foundation for his paintings, Raymond’s return to The Netherlands is marked by an artistic practice that concentrates on the materiality of paint itself. ‘I have begun to delve into what paint is and can be. This is how I discovered the properties of various pigments, and how acrylics sometimes mimic oil paints.’ The collage-like surface of his earlier works has given way for a spatiality found in the paint, in which the brushstroke now plays an important role.
Raymond Lemstra, born in 1978, currently lives and works in his hometown Groningen, after having spent many years in Seoul KR. Raymond graduated from Minerva Academy, Groningen, with a Bachelor of Design specialized in illustration. After a fruitful career in art direction and illustration, he is now committed to fine arts with a focus on painting.
Raymond has been exhibiting since 2011, solo and in groups, at home yet primarily internationally, both in galleries and museums. Among these occasions have been exhibitions at Everyday Mooonday in Seoul KR, The Nut in Shanghai CHN, MOHS Gallery Copenhagen DK, New York City’s Bold Hype Gallery, AF Gallery in Cologne DE, Colección Solo in Madrid ES, Galerie Celal M13 in Paris FR and Galerie Bart in Amsterdam. Moreover, Raymond Lemstra frequently participates in fairs such as Art Rotterdam, Drawing Room Madrid ES, KunstRAI Amsterdam, La Casa Encendida Madrid ES, Character Portraits Monterrey MX en ZONA MACO in Mexico City MX.
The collaboration between Galerie Bart and Raymond Lemstra dates back to 2018 and has resulted in multiple fair participations, exhibitions and a productive residency in our AiR.
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