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
Dimensions: 11.5 × 9.75 in | 29.2 × 24.8 cm
Retail: $60 | $80 CAN | £45
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.
A writer and curator based in New York, Bob Nickas has organized more than eighty exhibitions since 1984. He was Curatorial Advisor at PS1 Contemporary Art Center from 2004 to 2007, where his exhibitions included Lee Lozano: Drawn from Life; William Gedney — Christopher Wool: Into the Night; Stephen Shore: American Surfaces; and Wolfgang Tillmans: Freedom from the Known. He collaborated with Cady Noland on her installation for Documenta in 1992; contributed a section to Aperto at the 1993 Venice Biennale; and served on the curatorial teams that organized the 2003 Biennale de Lyon, and Greater New York 2005 at PS1 Contemporary Art Center. His books include Live Free or Die: Collected Writings 1985–1999 (2000), Theft Is Vision (2008), Painting Abstraction (2009), and Catalog of the Exhibition (2011). He is one of the authors of Defining Contemporary Art: 25 Years in 200 Pivotal Artworks (2011). A new collection of his writing, Komp-Laint Dept., is forthcoming in the fall of 2015.
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.