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Coping Mechanisms, Some Novel, Some Secondhand

24.03 - 12.05.23


If I may, I would ask you to briefly ponder a few ideas. When we consider identity, apply the notion of the self as an aggregate of separate identities. Characters cobbled loosely together from the different performances we present as we move from one societal construct to another. Additionally, how does memory inform, and is in turn informed by this action?

Is our sense of reality trustworthy, or are our surroundings merely an elaborate performance? Studies in quantum physics have revealed that light and matter behave differently depending on whether or not they are being observed, rendering the world around us essentially a facade or something akin to a shifting theater set.

Further, in regards to our relationship with that shifting world around us, consider that in order to navigate daily life, we tend to distill unique objects and experiences down to what are essentially generic symbols or categories (as opposed to things and occurrences novel unto themselves).

For some time now, these are the knotty and intermingling themes I’ve been considering. More pointedly, my work has centered on the rather absurd stances the human psyche gets itself into as it navigates this unsteady ground beneath our collective feet (is it any wonder we experience so many schisms on a societal, spiritual and psychological level?). Thematically, theater and still-life have long been useful lenses through which I process these ideas. Lately, the sometimes numbing, sometimes uplifting power of nostalgia has been a recent focus as well.

In regards to my process, the most important aspect of my practice which may not be evident in photographs is that the work is constructed from hundreds, sometimes thousands of individual pieces of hand-painted paper. Approaches in the studio involve several “off-canvas” processes: glass-plate dry paint transfer, crude monoprint techniques, and the creation of myriad types of painted paper. These techniques often rely upon activities of transference and obfuscation, resulting in imagery that’s compromised or incomplete. Ultimately, these processes are the conduit to my inquiries, implicitly informing the thematic thrust of the work rather than being the product of the reverse. I am not seeking to illustrate that which intrigues me, only to reveal my rather absurd path of inquiry.

When I enter the studio, I try not to begin with an idea as much as I endeavor to arrive at one.

David Hytone, March 4th, 2023




27.01 - 05.03.23

“Does what goes on inside show on the outside? Someone has a great fire in his soul and nobody ever comes to warm themselves at it, and passers-by see nothing but a little smoke at the top of the chimney and then go on their way…”
-Vincent Van Gogh

‘My work is a kind of codified auto-biography. Plunging into imaginative and observational approaches, I surface with images which seem personally meaningful, whilst also resonating with larger political and philosophical themes. Often I am preoccupied by the confluence of patriarchal gender norms, capitalism and humanist exceptionalism which underwrites the anthropocene. However, the work included in this show is even more personal than usual, charting a period of emotional turbulence; going through a divorce and falling in love again during the last few years of multiple pandemic lockdowns. Each painting externalises my feelings to create a trace or residue of what I was going through. Sometimes it seems obviously apparent, at others the true subject is only hinted at. My work has gradually pushed towards a synthetic cubist language which enables images to overlay and enmesh with slippery, paradoxical boundaries, to suggest a messy nuanced truth usually disguised by simplistic binaries of male vs female, man vs nature. Usually each painting emerges from my imagination, informed by sketches and ideas both seen and dreamed. Recently I have returned to painting directly from a model (my partner and friends), which enables me to paint with extreme speed and directness. I am interested in the energy transmitted by the sitter, but ultimately each painting expresses feelings entirely my own’.
-Michael Chance

We bring you a handful of paintings and sculptures.

The search for beauty is everlasting and therefore we are honoured to invite you, Friends and Art Enthousiasts, to Ghent.



Gerard Tomballe °1952,
Gerard works and lives in Antwerp, BE.
He graduated from the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht and later the Royal Academy of fine arts in Antwerp. Gerard focused primarily on Model Drawing.

Master influencer to his offspring, Gerard developed his obsession with the classic figure after his visit to Italy where he visited a show that focused on drawings by renaissance Masters such as Da Vinci and Michelangelo. It encouraged him to study this visual language and adapt it to his personal style. 

In the 1990’s Gerard worked on larger than life drawings inspired by mythologic storytelling and the then political climate.
Zeus, Aphrodite or Apollo. Heracles, painted with force centre of his subjects. The horror of the Sarajevo massacre played out within the walls of a Greek Temple.  Be ready to be impressed by the beauty and violence.
In a quest for freedom, Gerard’s brushstrokes are compelling and feel very current.

STUDIO23 is excited to bring you these rediscovered treasures.
Showing Gerard’s work is important because it gives a better insight on Florian Tomballe’s work. It’s a quintessential part of his style development.




16.09 - 23.10.22

Brussels based artist Arthur Dufoor (1997) has been honing his skills in classical oil painting for the past 10 years; starting out from a figurative approach, his work slowly evolved into an abstract practice. Central to this approach comes the fluidity and aggressiveness of intensely coloured shapes and patterns, where the love for the Old Masters always shines through and remains tangible. After studying in Ghent, Arthur had his studio for 6 months in the small coastal town of Westende, before moving back to Brussels. Having obtained a master’s degree in 2020 from the Luca School of Arts in Ghent, Dufoor has since exposed his work in numerous spaces, including: the ‘Rea Art Fair (Milan), the ‘Kunsthal’ (Ghent) and ‘LaVallée’ in Brussels.
Arthur Dufoor’s work departs from a radical intuitive approach, communicating raw emotions and expressive sensibility through large scale oil paintings. Drawing from diverse influences such as mannerism, baroque and post-modernist painters, Dufoor’s work always balances between the confessional and the brutal. His paintings constitute an abstract language, but always remain close to life in a personal quest for ‘the perfect painting’. Functioning as a large scale diary, Dufoor’s work often integrates various notes and quotes from his daily life and can function as a riddle concerning his motives. In doing so, the tension between personal vulnerability and the ruthlessness of the abstract language becomes apparent. Underneath this approach lies the ongoing struggle to communicate in a plastic manner the wrestle of the individual’s inner dialogue. Through a physical effort, Dufoor tries to make the inexplicable, explicable in relation to himself and those around him; this gives his artistic practice a decisive compulsive dimension. From a cat who passes by, to the victory of his favourite football team: diverse elements from everyday tasks and random perception get integrated as a means to cultivate his grand diary. There is a conscious choice to have no central dogma or extensive theoretical groundwork, in fact we can sense an outspoken flight from it.
In this sense, Dufoor’s work is a revolt against the overarching pretence of the theoretical concept as a self-indulgent means to be culturally and politically relevant. In his traditional view concerning art as a stylized interpretation of reality, the emotional and spiritual impact is essential: the sentiment to be ‘contemporary’ is absent and, in a way, despised. Striving to convey personal and universal experiences through aesthetic sublimation, the painting as a standalone artefact becomes the only reality, stripped from any commercial discourse. As a result of this almost religious and no-nonsense devotion to his practice, there is no need to ‘cover up’ or ‘hide’ (even behind texts like this one).
As futile as the quest for ‘the perfect painting’ may be, the classical longing to be ‘Forever Alive’ in one’s work continues to shape the intensity of Dufoor’s artistic passion.
Text by Raphaël Aziza Van Cappellen



Preceding the 2023 exhibition
you are invited for a first
discovery of Kirkman’s work
starting this Friday.
FR 26.08 | 17.00 - 22.00
SAT 27.08 - SUN 28.08 | 14.00 - 17.00
SAT 03.09 - SUN 04.09 | 14.00 - 17.00



03.06 - 17.07.22

Out of film, literature and the visual canon, Jonas distills images which used to represent beauty, still pass as such or are by now considered kitsch. He turns these into collages and paintings. Certain recurring motifs characterize his work; Symbols of transiency, for example. Flowers, heros and animals are recurring themes as well, but the composition doesn’t make it clear whether they open or close the space on the canvas.

These icons are displaced and disrupted. They lose their usual meaning and are disconnected. They no longer reference in the way they did before. They unleash a game, one that obscures and hides at the same time, makes old symbols unfamiliar or anew. Materiality, image and connotation start to contrast one another. The exuberant colors and images are immersed in a kind of darkness. It appears as if the work turns inwards, announces a later one or prepares for metamorphosis.

Out of the tension between graphic perfection and human imperfection, between a body and its cultus, craft and industry, new images arise time and time again. The beholder has to adjust its gaze each time. Jonas’s research is characterized by a sharp aestheticism that culminates in a celebration of the artificial, of a contrastful coherence, of painting that holds a mirror to itself.



28.01 - 24.04.22

Joren Van Acker (°1994 Gent, Belgium) is a young visual artist who resides and works in Evergem/Gent.
In his formative years, Joren studied at the Sint-Lucas Art Academy in Ghent. He also obtained his master degree for Fine Arts at the Royal Academy For Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent.

In the last few years, Joren has developed a personalized theme within his work. Whether it is a simple portrait of a labourer, a scene of a forlorn control room full of radars or a heavily loaded freighter that is slowly disappearing into the sunset; the scenes that Joren Van Acker captures on paper are characterised by a certain tension. A tension that could be described as one second in time where everything threatens to change. In the year 2021, when the world seems more sealed off and unreachable than ever, Van Acker succeeds, like a present-day Jules Verne, in transporting us to a world filled with discovery and imaginative technologies. 

However, in contrast to Verne, Van Ackers’ imagery of ships, barns, submarines and control rooms are based on a tangible reality. One that he explores while endlessly browsing through books, documentaries and archives. On the other hand, this was ingrained in him from an early age, through experiences in the small harbour cafe of his grandparents. It was there that his fascination with the boundless waters was established. The initial illustrations that Van Acker drew in charcoal served as an ode to this special place. Thus, his art intertwines glimpses from the past, present and future.

From this, Joren utilises a seemingly endless image archive; spending countless hours reading books and researching archival footage that spark an inevitable attraction to a specific image. Subsequently, every scene is meticulously selected to fit exactly how it will be captured on paper. This is how the artist, much like a film director, enacts complete control. While every illustration he creates can firmly stand alone, it also functions as a new chapter to an ongoing story.
For his monumental drawings Joren works with charcoal.
The photographic nature, contrasting black and white's and dizzying perspectives gives the viewer something to gaze at.

STUDIO23 takes you on a adventurous trip over the wild Atlantic vast oceans and into the deepest seas. We give you an insight into the world of exploration and discovery.

The show takes place at our gallery in the historical harbor of Ghent. Talking about a match made in Heaven. Come check us out.
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04.10 - 29.12.2021

Works and lives in Antwerp, Belgium. For the past years, since graduating as a master sculptor at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, Florian Tomballe has mainly focused on finding his way through the figurative realm. Both disciplined as a draughtsman and a sculptor, he has made way, from an archaic understanding of the figure, to an accomplished classical approach, resulting in monumental full standing figures, as well as the art of portraiture. In more recent times, this path has led to a firm abstracted approach of our human form and its inhabiting world, the soul. It is in this that he finds most freedom, creativity and trust, in order to grow.

Florian: “I grew up in a family where everyone was an artist. Visiting museums and my father’s studio were common to me. After graduating in sculpture at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, I started my own studio where I originally studied the classical ways. Gradually, a desire to be swift and without rules has made way for a new free form and direction within my practice. After ten years in my studio, I feel things are coming together and can grow limitlessly.”

The work by Florian has been internationally recognised through various group exhibitions in London, New York, Antwerp and Spain, which has resulted in important sales. Florian’s work is now part of collections owned by the LVMH group, collectors such as Sting (The Police), Peter Marino (Architect and interior designer) and private collectors from Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Norway, USA (New York and Miami), UAE (Dubai), Canada …

Florian’s work had been published in several art magazines such as AKT, ABSOLUUT, SABATO,… It is the beautiful sculptural quality that makes the work of Florian important and attractive. Florian’s work can best be described as a mixture between synthetical abstraction, cubism and the Greek Kouros, inspired by the work of Braque and Picasso. The freedom of his workplace gives Florian the oxygen and strength to further develop his artistry in a healthy way.



04.10 - 29.12.2021

Jeroen Boudens °1956 Works and lives in Ostend, Belgium. The work of Jeroen Boudens can best be described as a mix of abstract and graphic minimalism. Strongly inspired by his graphic education in the 70s and his interest in African art, specifically the outspoken graphic lines of the Shoowa tapestry from the Kuba tribe.

Jeroen’s work evokes a strong emotional bond between the viewer and the paintings. Strong graphic black and whites, deep greys and oranges, geometrical forms in pastels, such as light blue and powder pink, are the proof of pure mastery of colour and composition. His non-figurative monumental artworks look seemingly effortless but appearances can be deceiving. When Jeroen starts to paint, he is extremely focused and, being a perfectionist, he sands down each layer before putting on the next, creating the perfect lines and colour areas The work of Jeroen brings us the opportunity to look deeper into the world of abstract art, suprematism, constructivism and neoplasticism. It also invites us to take a closer look at the tribal Congolese art that has been an inspiration for so many. Jeroen’s work has a national and international reputation. There have been group and solo shows in Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent, but also in Cologne, Sittard and Rijswijck in Holland. His work stretches out to Tokio, Japan. STUDIO23 strongly believes in the work by Jeroen Boudens, as they are in so many ways beautiful, decorative and educative.
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