Harold Ancart: Traveling Light

Text by Laura McLean-Ferris. Interview with the artist by Bob Nickas  

In his rich new body of work, the Belgian artist Harold Ancart turns an immersive landscape of trees, mountains, and seas into a meditation on painting itself. 

 Ancart often paints subjects that naturally invite contemplation, such as the horizon, clouds, flowers, flames, and icebergs. His newest body of work captures the experience of landscape seen in motion or from a distance: trees blurred while driving past, a far-off inky-black sea, an evocative Martian mountain range. Recalling René Magritte, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, and Piet Mondrian, who approached this subject matter in distinct ways, Ancart blurs form and color, figure and ground, and figuration and abstraction.

Reproduced here in magnificent foldouts, two multipanel canvases situate the viewer between a mountainscape and a seascape, both monumental in scale. Ancart segments the seascape with a stark horizon line, dividing sky and ocean. Like other comparable motifs within the artist’s oeuvre, the vividly colored cloudy sky functions in an anthropomorphic way, alluding to the endless possibilities and personalities of organic forms.

Including an interview with the artist by Bob Nickas, this catalogue offers insight into Ancart’s frank reflections on painting, writing, nature, and more. The publication also features a new essay by Laura McLean-Ferris. Taken together, the works in Traveling Light meditate on the expansive possibilities of painting.



Publisher: David Zwirner Books

Artists: Harold Ancart

Contributors: Bob Nickas, Laura McLean-Ferris

Designer: Mike Dyer, Remake

Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona

Publication Date: 2021

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 11.5 × 9.75 in | 29.2 × 24.8 cm

Pages: 100

Reproductions: 53

ISBN: 9781644230510

Retail: $60 | $80 CAN | £45

Status: Available

Harold Ancart

Born in Brussels in 1980, Harold Ancart received his MFA at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre in 2007. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. 

All Harold Ancart books.

Bob Nickas

Bob Nickas, a writer and curator based in New York, has organized more than 120 exhibitions since 1984. His books include Painting Abstraction: New Elements in Abstract Painting (2014) and four collections of his writings and interviews: Live Free or Die (2000), Theft Is Vision (2007), The Dept. of Corrections (2016), and Komplaint Dept. (2018). Most recently, he has contributed essays to Vija Celmins (2018), Brand New: Art & Commodity in the 1980s (2018), Robert Grosvenor (2020), and Josh Smith: Emo Jungle (David Zwirner Books, 2020). 

Laura McLean-Ferris

Laura McLean-Ferris is chief curator at Swiss Institute, New York, and a writer. She regularly contributes to Artforum, ArtReview, Art-Agenda, Even, frieze, Mousse, and Flash Art, and has authored catalogue essays for monographs on the work of Nina Beier, Anna-Sophie Berger, Dom Sylvester Houédard, Deimantas Narkevičius, Rachel Rose, and Hayley Tompkins. She was the recipient of the 2015 Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and her short-form collection, The Lacustrine, was published in 2016.