Antoon makes oil paintings. An important theme in his work are the so-called ‘Lonely Subjects’, single subjects, isolated on a big white background. Images and exhibitions communicate ideas; some ideas may become icons or symbols for a precise overall idea. The subject is painted realistically, but the white (or black) background isolates it from the daily context so as to make it non-realistic at the same time.
The paintings present an isolated image from reality, such it is shown on the central object/subject. It is not just an image, but a view that brings to light hidden aspects of the existing world and charges them with meaning. What the ‘Lonely Subjects’ do, does not refer to dreams, future or past – only the intensity of a still moment is of importance. ‘Subjects’ because the painted objects go and live their own life, so much so that in the end they have become a subject; ‘lonely’ because of the central position in a seemingly empty space.
The ‘Lonely Subjects’ stimulate another view on reality. They also give the spectator the power to determine the content of the painting. The subject receives a new aura, apart from its everyday function in real life. By the solid central position of the object, which at the same time is also the subject of the painting, displayed against a background that looks like an autonomous empty room, the painting reduces the form and meaning to their bare essence. ‘La chambre claire’ vs. clair/obscur: the lighted room where an interaction begins between formal display and creation of content, stated minimally but clearly
Instead of covering a complete canvas, the ‘Lonely Subjects’ reflect on the mystery of one particular subject in an otherwise big empty room, whose function is to isolate the subject. It is a lonely subject, reduced to its essence. ‘Lonely Subjects’ are very inspiring. In Antoon’s paintings, the object at the centre has really become the subject of the painting. And yet, unlike in a still life painting e.g., the emphasis is not on the subject itself, but on what it represents. Most objects bathe in a monochrome white, into which the spectator can project his thoughts. It is a kind of ‘espace perdu’ to do something with. Like the artist himself, the spectator is bound to go in pursuit of content, of an idea, presented in a clear and pure manner, with what looks like a simple painting touch.