Simone Albers (Nijmegen, 1990) paints and makes installations reflecting on the natural world and the way we relate to her. She is interested in how nature ‘functions’ on a fundamental level by looking for the mechanisms that lay hidden beyond the directly visible. For example by zooming in, looking at the forces, patterns and structures that play a role in certain processes or by searching for connections and interactions between objects. Natural sciences, like geology, astronomy and evolutionary biology, play a key part in her research, but also philosophy is a main interest. Although amazed by the knowledge that is collectively been gained over the centuries, Albers is also interested by the inevitable boundaries of our understanding. The philosophical questions that arise and Albers tries to answer through her artistic procedures are: Will we ever be able to thoroughly scrutinize the true nature of all there is? And will we be able to answer the big, primordial questions on the origin of existence one day? Or are these aims impossible by definition?
In the HEAVY META series, the paintings bear resemblance to natural history prints of cabinets of curiosities, except the depicted objects are not representations of the observable natural world but rather archetypes that underlie it. The ‘natural curiosities’ are replaced with universal forms, the ‘substance’ of the objects, created by simple painterly movements. Applied by pouring, pressing or swiping the paint it leaves a trail, texture or pattern, reminiscent of natural structures. Also the compositions formed organically like a system or constellation, without a preconceived plan. In this way the act of painting can be seen as a metaphor for the creation of nature itself. The objects lack a sense of scale and interchange between matter and energy, the physical and metaphysical. The series aims to not categorize, understand and control, but to celebrate the unknown, the complex and the mysterious.
Drawing inspiration from cosmology, astronomy, quantum physics and semiotics the series Fabric of Reality focusses on the universe and the way we study and picture her. The paintings don’t necessarily show the cosmic landscape as we would observe it through an optical telescope or camera, but can be understood as constructed landscapes. The basic structures for these landscapes are created by marbling, an age-old technique where the paint drifts on a water surface. This process gives space for the paint to generate patterns by alternating pulling and pushing forces. Around these marbled fields slightly metallic, hand drawn lines appear, forming a grid that is reminiscent of a woven fabric. This fabric holds different elements borrowed from scientific imagery, functioning as icons or symbols. They represent phenomena we encounter in space, from elementary particles to astronomical objects and cosmological structures, bringing together the very small and the very big. Most of the scientific images used portray phenomena, objects and events that are present in the cosmos but are either abstract or invisible to the naked eye. Questions that rose while working on the series were: are these reconstructions in a way more complete than optical observations, reaching to a deeper essence? Or are they creating a parallel reality of symbols and concepts, adding an extra layer? The paintings can be read as a representation of both: as a reference to the beautiful phenomena underlying the physical world as well as a visualization of human analysis and the difficult road towards clarification, forming a fabric of what together makes up our reality.