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In search of the ultimate shape

I am looking for the ultimate shape, a shape that represents nothing but everything says. Within my minimalist visual language I create modest but powerful shapes, shapes that take their place in the space. My work is about shape, colour and matter, tranquillity is the theme.

My first paintings – around 2008 – were inspired by the empty, vast landscape of Vlieland. I painted empty landscapes, horizontal divisions in which peace and space were the subject. When I said goodbye to the ‘horizon’ – somewhere around 2014 – suggestions of clouds and vegetation took centre stage, which immediately abstracted into independent shapes that were separate from their origin. When I no longer allowed myself to be limited by the edges of the canvas – around 2016/2017 – the first wall objects were created that allowed me to add shape and matter to my work. I used extruded polystyrene (XPS) as a base and covered it with layers of paper, plaster and/or paint. At the moment – since the summer of 2022 – I am inspired by cardboard from old packaging boxes and make large and small wall objects. In all these years, tranquillity and minimalism have remained.

I get the boxes from friends and shops in the area. They have been used, something has been packed in them, transported, it has travelled a distance. There are fold lines, nicks and adhesive edges. It’s damaged. The material challenges me to create new shapes, minimalist, tranquil objects. I work with acrylic and alkyd paint and oil stick, among other things.

In my work I try to create my own world, looking for balance but also tension, imperfection, not flashy but quiet and subdued. This gives each object its own character, modest and informal. This is my world, this is who I am.

Kees van de Wal

July 2024


Kees van de Wal
Born in Oirschot, 1967. Lives and works in Zaltbommel.

  • 1983 – 1987: Graphic Lyceum Eindhoven, aesthetic design;
  • 1990 – 2000: various courses: drawing / painting / etching / model drawing;
  • 2009 – 2014: Academy of Fine Arts, Arendonk, Painting, passed with honorable mention;
  • 2014 – 2016: Specialization degree Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Arendonk, passed with a Great distinction.


Kees van de Wal in zijn atelier

Photo: Bommelerwaardgids/Marijke Verhoef, 2023.