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“Three Four Three 1”
343 firefighters missing
(donated by private collector
to Firehouse  Museum New York)

“Three Four Three 2”

Erik Adriaan van der Grijn “REDUX” 2001

At Egizio’s Project Gallery, New York

Erik Adriaan van der Grijn will show eleven paintings made in New York since 1997 at Egizio’s Project, 596 Broadway, Suite 406, New York, opening on December 4, 2001 and running through January 19, 2002. The works are abstract, but they relate to real things and events. This is van der Grijn’s fourth solo show in New York, his first at Egizio’s Project. A reception for the artist will be held at the gallery on Wednesday, December 12 between 6 and 8 p.m.

A native of Holland, van der Grijn spent twenty-five years in Ireland and a few years in Holland and Belgium, before moving his studio to New York in 1995. The imagery in the paintings is inspired by events current at the time that the paintings were being made. For example, Nunca Mas #1 (1997-98) refers to events in recent history of Argentina in which the photographer-journalist José Luis Cabezas was killed and the slogan, “Never Again!”, which became the title of the painting, appeared on many walls in Buenos Aires. The painting is not about these events, however, it is an abstract painting about painting. It is not necessary for the viewer to know where the images come from in order to fully appreciate the paintings; the information is like a detail of an artist’s biography –an inessential matter of fact.

The show contains eleven works some of which were in the artist’s April 1999 solo show at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for which an important catalogue of the work was produced. The 100-page catalogue, with an essay by Frederick Ted Castle, and many colour reproductions of van der Grijn’s work is available at Egizio’s Project. Van der Grijn has been obsessed with yellow and black paint since early childhood. On his arrival in Ireland in 1964, he began by painting the cautionary road signs he saw there. More than thirty years later, yellow and black usually indicate a type of authenticity in his work, though certainly not a brand mark.

His latest paintings were made this fall after the attacks on the Twin Towers. 9/11, On a Beautiful September Morning and Stars & Stripes and others do serve to commemorate disaster, but like all of van der Grijn’s paintings they operate fully as abstract works that happen to have these names rather than as statements about the events to which they allude. During the last ten years, much of van der Grijn’s work has appeared under the umbrella title My Temple, My Prison. This intriguing rubric offers a clue to the whole of Erik van der Grijn’s oeuvre, a clue that is properly ambiguous and enigmatic, but by no means obscure. It clearly points to something in the work which is at once inexplicable and philosophical and beautiful. He has used the Latin title REDUX for this show, meaning bringing back, restoring, returning.