The intensity of light, the hours of sun, the colour of the surrounding nature and the general way of living at the Mediterranean redefined my choice of what are to me “natural colours” and how to define a thing called “life”.
Liesbeth Willaert (Leuven, Belgium, °1981) is a visual artist and lives currently in Belgium and Barcelona. After her Master in Communication Sciences (Ghent University, Belgium), she obtained a Masters in Digital Photography at the University of Barcelona in 2004.
The Mediterranean lifestyle, the creativity of this vibrant city and the “Californian climate” will mark her forever. Since 2016, Liesbeth has had a second home and painting studio there.
Her painting career got accelerated by two individual exhibitions 2 years in a row at the Olivart Gallery in Barcelona. On top of it she was selected for the prize for “Best Art Seen in Barcelona in 2017”. From then on she started exhibiting internationally in New York, Monaco, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and London.
Ticket to freedom & authenticity
The sea is a constant the artists’ life. Raised in a family of sailors and windsurfers, she can be found a lot both on and in the water, as Liesbeth is very keen on kitesurfing. The importance of the sea is clearly visible in the titles of her artwork.
After her university studies in 2004, Liesbeth worked in renowned advertising agencies, but felt pretty fast “suffocating” in a corporate life with a fixed 9-to- system. Looking for balance and a way of life where she could be herself, she became a freelance visual designer and as a digital nomad, she worked from workation in Brazil, South Africa, Egypt, Indonesia…
Having a sense of freedom and authenticity is essential for the artist. Ever since, painting got more and more important in her life. A white canvas is her sense of ultimate freedom. This in combination with a painting studio at the Mediterranean Sea provides her a basic mood “joie de vivre”, which clearly reflects in her work.
‘Joie de Vivre’ on canvas
Her work is “geometric abstract” with a deliberately bright and partly fluorescent color palette and her typical contrasts. Her authentic painting style is due to this ‘game’ of overlapping different layers of organic, intuitive shapes against other layers with geometric elements and surfaces. In this process she repeats over an over. It is, as it were, a dance between these 2 worlds on canvas: the defined geometric and the intuitive, chaotic. The power of the contrast between this two worlds leads to an energetic, dynamic artwork, mingled with a certain level of playfulness, surprising details and – because of the bold and bright color palette – a cheerful appearance. You could say an authentic “joie de vivre” on canvas.
‘My works are true selfies’
Her works arises from a physical need of an “excess of energy” or “inner restlessness” as the artist herself describes, which is projected onto canvas in the form of organic shapes, big deliberate brushstroke marks, traces of pallet knives, bright colors and a multiplicity of techniques that create a chaotic, wild, but coherent colorful first underlay. Starting from this base, several different layers (up till 4 or 5) are created one on top of the other, playing with overlap & opacity searching for interesting and surprsing “dances” between the organic, intuitive shapes & the hard edged, geometric elements.
Each layer corresponds to a different state of mind. That’s why Liesbeth is always working on 2 till 3 paintings at the same time, because each layer requires a different “mood”. Adding geometry to a chaotic surface creates harmony, but requires concentration, inner peace and patience. If Liesbeth is in a totally different mindset, the painting is finished at a different time or the painting gets a twist in the opposite direction, which is then brought into balance once again in the following layers. We could say, her works are real “selfies”.
How the artist feels in a specific place at a specific time determines the painting. When one of the two elements would be changed, the artwork would be completely different. A remarkable evolution can be seen in the addition of fluorescent colors, once Liesbeth started to create mainly from sunny Southern Europe, Barcelona. As the artists says: ‘The intensity of light, the hours of sun, the color of the surrounding nature and the general way of living at the Mediterranean redefined my choice of what are to me “natural colors” and how to define a thing called “life”.’