With Huttenlocher, Lasker, Van Merendonk, Witte de With presented an exhibition about painting. Huttenlocher, Lasker, Van Merendonk examined fine painting in a critical light and put its conventions and truisms on line.

Swiss artist Britta Huttenlocher (1962), American artist Jonathan Lasker (1948) and Dutch artist Jos van Merendonk (1956) are from different generations and ranges of influence. Yet they each seek to develop a way of painting that strikes a balance between the abstract and figurative. Interestingly, in spite of their different aesthetic solutions, the works of all three can be seen as fact-inscribed grids.

Huttenlocher’s work bears witness to nineteenth-century picturesque landscape painting, with its typical theme of glorifying nature. The landscape’s beauty was typically expressed through such painterly techniques as brightening with white and suggesting spontaneity through sketchy outlines and rough brushstrokes. Huttenlocher achieves essentially the same painterly effects through collage: by piecing black-and-white photocopies of postcards into depictions of snow-capped mountains. Yet, like a reversal of the Impressionistic image, her works, when seen from a distance, resemble abstract, monotone paintings.

Lasker’s arrangements call personal expression into question. Images are put together in a way that assumes spontaneity. In his work color fields and patterns are infiltrated by bold abstract forms, that seem to stand out against the background. He juxtaposes linear motifs with patterns of thick, tangible brushstrokes in shimmering colors. According to Lasker, paintings should above all be specific: unique while confronting the viewer with their immediate presence.

According to Van Merendonk, his endless partitions in green are the results of an accumulation of cliché characteristics from abstract painting. By putting these elements through a process of painting, scraping, carving and repainting, he evokes an entire range of colors and spatial effects in his monotone surfaces.