KUNSTAVISEN January 2004:
An artist in sweeping development
"The Funen painter and graphic designer John Hansen (born 1953) has had a splendid year with exhibitions in 2003. His artist kan be called abstract expressionism. Colour, texture and technic all comes together. In June 2003 John Hansen exhibited at Funens Graphic Workshop in Odense, a series of graphic pieces done in aquatinte, and a couple of pieces in aquatinte painted upon. The pieces were at the same time partly importunated, unavoidable; partly refined and sophisticated.
The same fact asserted itself at an exhibition with a series of pieces shown at Galerie Gerly in August-September, at Galerie Lærken Nykøbing Falster in September-October, and at the Art Gallery in Søndergade in Odense, November 2003."
John Hansens artistic development
"John Hansen is educated at the Art Academy at Funen 1971-1976 and has been exbibiting at censored exhibitions from 1977, ex. KE 77. In 1976-77 the artist experimented with a special technique involving acrylics on japanese paper, in which a form of dissolution of the materiral seems to underline an internal division in the portrayed ruptured figures. The result is an underlignment of desperation.
In the end of the 1980'ies, of fundamental importence is the the rhythm in the paintings and the closing in of light versus shadow, as well as texture and the aspect of space. Torso-like figures, which appears in the mid-80'ies, dissappears at the end of the decade. Left behind is a distillation of the surroundings. It becomes hard to identify an actual ground colour, due to several layers of paint. Technically, the paint is painted, sprinkled and dripped on the canvas. Light, gray and white-like colours dominates the background while pink, light blue and green colours are sprinkled or dripped on the canvas. Several places on the surface a rectangle and/or a horisontal line is seen. Which is to say, something that surstains the surface.
In the 1990'ies onward, pivotal is a combination of somthing mere colour and texture, as well as the actual surface - that is to say the canvas and/or paper. Often John Hansens starting point is his own lithographic proof impressions, whereupon he paints. In this way, a rich texture occurs."
"Voyages to The Netherlands, Germany and Norway, among others, has been crucial for Johan Hansen. But of special importance was the stay in Brazil in 1993-94. John Hansen exhibits four places in Brazil, among others at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACC) in Campinas, Sao Paulo. A major work was begun in Brazil and later finished in Denmark: The series "Terra/Earth". In the completed project, both red Brazilian earth and grey-black earth from the hills of Sønderby on Fyn is used. The series is composed of two double-paintings (2 pieces of 200*150 cm) "Terra do Brasil" and "Terra/Jord" as well as 12 pieces on paper (each 150*120 cm) in the materials eath, eggs, acrylics and pencil. These pieces are very important in Johan Hansens development, where texture and intensity becomes more and more pronounced."
Art fair in Herning
"At Galleri Elise Toft, a series of completely new pieces, small as well as large, are shown at the art fair in Herning in Feburary 2004. The paintings summarizes what John Hansen has been working towards in the last couple of years. Delicate Nordic colours can in ruptured formations physically associate to mountain walls, ice, snow and clouds, combined with light and dark brown, green and deep-violet masses lit up by ochre, yellow and blue. In certain cases a horisontal line is suggested, but merely suggested. Nothing is determined in the statement of these paintings - and that is exactly what is so fascinating about them."
KUNSTAVISEN September 2005:
Paintings in balance
"What is the difference between a mere abstract expressionistic painting and an abstract expressionistic nature painting? It is after all categories one uses industriously in covering artists productions, always with a clear understanding of what seperates one from the other. But when I see John Hansens latest paintings at Galleri Dahl, I question what I see - but in that case, one can always find help in the artists own titles, and here earth in different configurations is used as a kind of guide. John Hansens paintings explores a delicate balance between nature experience and the forum of abstractions, a central part of the Nordic artistic desire to dive into this borderline territory where so many has gone, from Strindberg to Kirkeby and Kenneth Nielsen. It is an arena of art where the possibilities seem endless, but where it at the same time can go terribly wrong if the artist does not develop his own rythm and understands how to make the motive balance both within the frame of the canvas, as well as in the relationship between nature experience and its reflection in the abstraction. John Hansen understands this challenge, thus his paintings communicates simply but powerful from the canvas out into the room."
Paintings in dialogue
"One could say that the artist looks out into the world, thereupon turns and sees (or crawls) into the mirror from Alice in Wonderland, where everything changes and new ways of seeing and understanding are created. John Hansen works still deeper into the possibilities of the painting in relation to the voyages he has taken, and where Brazil has made a decisive impression. He sees possibilities in the plentuful colours of the earth and experiences the impact of light, whereupon he so to speak distil an expression that he recreates on canvas. The expression is a special combination of light and darkness, but one can also use the language of music and say that 'major' meets 'minor' or - with the language of poetry - that the lyrical meets the dramatic.
But it can also, as with Turner and Strindberg, be that the sky meets the sea. The possibilities are endless, but in the end it is a meeting between forces, which for John Hansen is an area in the painting that bears in it a special intensity in form of light, or because strong surfaces encounters each other. In this meeting the painting arises, bit it's experience and interpretation is based on the intensity of the one seeing, as well as on space and light in the room. Thus his paintings are never the same, when someone else experiences the ones you experienced yourself. An endless series of dialogue possibilities appears between the surroundings and the paintings, dialogues that the artist has left for us to understand and interpret, because John Hansens own suggestions lies in the silent an colourful language of the painting."
Author and art critic Erik Meistrup, regarding exhibition at Galleri Dahl from 20th of August to 9th of October 2005.
- words cancelled
A few minutes by car through the summerly, vigorous and very green East Jutland towards the Gallery in Søding, fills up your mind. The smell of elder flower intoxicates you, so that you are all high at the arrival. - Curious more than exited. Now, what is this? Even though it can only be for a short while - other things are calling.
The experience is surprising, even overwhelming. There are loads of painitngs. A few sticks out, runs off. A big painting in the corner with Cezannes Mont Sainte Victoire-mountains (means: the mountain of victory) is filled with majestic calmness with its halo-like light. The victory is there, even in the decay, crumbling, today more advanced than it was for Cezanne hundreds of years ago. As with the mountain, as with life: it crumbles, when it lies open, but it is as if the crumbling casts a majestic light.
John Hansen stops in the middle of the mounting and gives it a few words on the way. "Some days it was seen in the haze, other days it was clear, even though it was 70 km away", he says with shining eyes. - And I think: Puzzling and a good thing, that we in Europe can find greatness, also in the crumbling. A good thing that we do not - like the Japanes with Fujimas aspiration to higher tings - are forced to strive after perfection in order to be. - The Palimpsest, Hansens correspondance with the master Cezanne is obvious, especially in this painting, but also in others. Not only in the motive, but also the playing with the light makes the correspondance real. In others of the temporary mounted paintings the motive is also seen - in one of them, the mountain has disappeared altogether and the haze is transformed into William Blake's blooming ray.
An orgie of different colours of white - and I do mean different colours of white, because white is by no means white - are fighting somewhere on a different canvas with darkness, so that one is overwhelmed; believes to find and angel, e dove, I know not what. One is lifted up, lifted out...
Completely different are the about hundred "memory pictures", small, sketch-like things - and what are sketches for an artist other than "memory pictures". They are on their way up on a black plate in the small, low roofed white painted room. From the pieces I am able to see on my 29 minutes in the gallery before other the call of other doings becomes pressing, I sense difference and life, and I look forward to see them all up together. It will be a classy symphony of colours.
But to me, the most striking is a painting with verdigrisy and moss-colours in a dramatic interplay and counterplay, as if it was a act of lovemaking on its way towars the light. The last few minutes in the gallery the painting again catches my eye, thus far my personal favourite.
29 minutes, it was. Indecently short time. - maybe, but from experience I know that if an exhibition does not immediately make an impression, it will never. Not to me, at least.
The strength and light in this exhibition is surprisingly strong, even under the sharp light of Randes fjord. For sure Randers is not Provence, where the paintings was created, but anyhow a puzzling interplay occurs! 29 minutes of pleasent surprise on a summers day ... yet another scoop in the gallery ... Congratulations to John Hansen and Birthe Elgaard. - may the light from the paintings open the eye to the light and the day outside!
Peder Svejgaard Pedersen; Ø. Tørslev vicarage 2007