From the 28th of April up until the 25th of June, artist Joyce ter Weele shows her work in her first solo exhibition at Vonkel, entitled ‘Behind the visible’.

The work of Joyce ter Weele (Academy Minerva, 2015) centres on the adventure of viewing and giving (new) meaning to known shapes and spaces. Her work is intriguing, mysterious and can sometimes be estranging. The starting point in Joyce’s works always is the figurative reality, and how she captures this with the help of photography. Figuration, abstraction and deconstruction alternate one another during her work process. Joyce combines various perspectives, views and dimensions, and places shapes and lines seemingly haphazardly. Eventually a new world emerges on the canvas or paper; a new space, ready to be viewed upon and interpreted. The big question within the work of Joyce is if it is ultimately possible to interpret it. Is there a deeper meaning to discover, or is the image entirely self-contained?

Joyce has a fascination for vacant places, in nature and in the urbanized world. Think about vacant apartment buildings, empty bathrooms, and clearings in a straggly park. She believes these places have no significance anymore, because they lost their function and use. In her eyes this gives them a new beauty; the elements have had their time to take these places over and leave their traces. You could say the approach of Joyce towards her work is similar to the approach of these natural elements; she takes over the vacant places, and gives them a new shape.

Joyce makes use of her own pictures, which she constructs and deconstructs by applying different techniques to them. She makes the choice to cut up the negatives, overlap them and rearrange them (like the work on the windows of our exposition space). With that material she makes new prints and during this printing process she works the negatives with printing fluid and a big brush. (The big, central kallitype work in our gallery is an example of this technique.) Next to her photo experiments Joyce works with collages and drawings. Here she focusses on the deconstruction of the figurative reality. Joyce’s work thus reminds us of surrealists like the painter Max Ernst and the photographer Man Ray. They too took existing places and objects as a starting point, and gave them a new meaning by adding a twisted perspective, different lighting, or by working the canvas with techniques like frothing and decalcomania. The surrealists created estranging situations and images, and in the work of Joyce these same aspects appear.

Her work is renewing in the sense that she asks the question if’ it’s even possible to give purpose to a world that she recreated from the ruins of vacant places. She seems to put attention to the human aspiration towards finding recognition in abstract and figurative images and summons the question if that’s really necessary. Does a shape or image always has to have an implication? Is it possible for something to completely stand on its own and refer to nothing but itself? And can the human eye see that, and comprehend it? Joyce doesn’t give the viewer an explanation about her works and no possible significance. She leaves the interpretation completely to the viewer. This is also the reason her works bear no titles. A title would explain the content and the works of Joyce are not there to be explained.

This is why in the solo-exhibition ‘Behind the visible’ of Joyce ter Weele the viewer is given the possibility to discover a personal perspective in her surprising imagery. It’s possible to view the exposition from a bird flight perspective, or follow the lines and shapes from up close. It’s up to the viewer to enter the created space, and have the feeling of being physically present within the work. And in this way possibly give significance to it.

A selection of works by Joyce ter Weele can be seen here:

Artist page Joyce ter Weele