Red Border (1999)
In his work, Koen van den Broek merges figuration and abstraction to create compositions that cannot be immediately registered as a single image, oftentimes using photography as a point of departure. In his recent works, the artist depicts large architectural structures and biomorphic shapes, which test the ways in which human vision receives and identifies images.
Such a concern is also evident in Red Border, an earlier work from the late 1990s, which seems to capture the edge of a pavement in a public garden and yet lacks further signifiers that clarify its location. By leaving the work unresolved as such, van den Broek pushes the picture into the realm of pure abstraction, letting the directionality of his brush strokes and interaction between colors dominate the spectator’s experience of the painting. By placing two opposing colors of red and green adjacent to each other, the artist creates a visual tension that sustains the rest of the canvas.