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William Doyle ( New York )

Figurative and abstract
“Erik Pevernagie is primarily known for combining both figurative and abstract elements in his works. Starting with a simple geometric sketch or "graffiti", he builds the surface with materials such as ashes,sand or metal chips."

International Herald Tribune

Easing alienation
"Bridging the gaps between generations, social strata and nationalities is a tricky business. However Erik Pevernagie may have hit upon a workable formula to ease the alienation "

Christie''s, New York, Catalogue

Ground zero of the mind
By denying any physical presence of the character and leaving simply dress evidence, the artist gives us a reproduction of the ground zero of the mind. His anti-hero has decided to make tabula rasa and get rid of all acquired alleged qualities. In his artistic work Pevernagie often claims space for reflection, time for new oxygen, recovery of spiritual regeneration and intervals for active awareness aimed at calling matters into question.

Bénézit  Dictionary of Artists ( Paris )

Alienation in the urban texture
"Man" stands in the heart of his work: man integrated in his natural environment, sometimes even absorbed by it. On the other hand he seems to deny it, as Pevernagie introduces graffiti in his paintings. So doing he gives evidence of the solitude of the human being, his alienation in the urban texture.

Ketterer Kunst ( Hamburg )

Refined moderate colouredness
Belgian artist, who adds geometrical colour surfaces in his work to characters or architectural spaces.   In addition he uses material on his canvasses such as sand and metal chips, which grant to his pictures their special surface texture and which seem  to submerge  the separate entities into a refined moderate colouredness  through the reflection of the light.

Nagel (Stuttgart)

Matieristisch , Menschlich
"Seine Kunst, die zweifellos matieristisch und sensuell ist, besitzt auch eine wirkliche, menschliche Botschaft und ruft ein Bewusstwerden ohne Kompromisse hervor.”

Ars Libris

At the same time plastic and literary
One of the major tendencies of figurative current painting in rupture of round of applause with a latent abstractionism - consists in hiding the subject in a singular environment.   With Erik Pevernagie, the creation of his work is at the same time plastic and literary. The words, the titles, the sentences, the graffiti  are extensions and  elucidations of the visual effect.Practically unclassifiable work, so much seems to culminate in it various currents.

Artist Statement

Bridging gaps through art
Art, by its creative power, unleashes positive energy, closer relations between individuals and peoples. Through art people meet and get to know each other. By its very nature, art is universal and makes it easier to cross frontiers and barriers. It helps to forget alienations.
The paintings of Pevernagie can be situated in this frame.   The main theme in his work is man in his environment. The painter scans people and situations, juggles with colours and provokes emotions.  In the first place Erik Pevernagie wants to state his alliance with society and the world at large. He wants to give evidence of the elements which do strike him in daily life. In order to stress this evidence he uses slogans, outcries, certain " truths " in his paintings like graffiti.  His characters are expecting, looking forward, escaping, in quest of alternatives. Imagination is essential if we want to save our lives.
The artist wants to give evidence on many levels. Reality is not what it seems to be. Looking is important. But more important is " seeing " what is hidden behind the appearances.  With this statement of evidence the artist takes part in this operation of opening eyes and unlocking hearts.
" Idea and figuration mostly arise at the same moment", says Pevernagie. " Then follows the material substance and the colour process".
" Framing plays an important part. Where the objet is sectioned tension is created. Essential is creation of tension and some mental disorder".  " Of course a painting should have a value on its own. But the idea, the story, the background are additional values. The things which are ''not- said'' or ''not-painted'' are as important as what is expressed or painted".

Arto  Dictionary

Balance of surfaces
Mixes figuration and abstraction with a poetic and philosophical key. Important are the framing, the intersections, the balance of the surfaces. Introduces extraneous substances (ashes, sand, grit etc) which gives an aspect of strangeness and ruggedness as if he leaves traces of the past.

Arts Antique Auctions

Coherent and sensual
Erik Pevernagie paints nudes and integrates them in the substance of his canvasses and his pigments, as if they where born from them, and adds messages to them. He expresses in his painting a very homogeneous and coherent sensual material substance. In his work not only the human body is shown but particularly the ideas which arise when looking at it.

Berliner Kurier

Truths stripped naked
Truths stripped naked. Man in his environment is the central theme of Erik Pevernagie. He expresses himself with colors, signs,graffiti.

J-M Binst

Symbolism in abstract compositions
Erik Pevernagie utilizes sand, gravel and ashes in his paintings. The raw results point to the crumbling world around the artist, a world, that like the material used on his canvasses, is far from homogenous. His palette tends to colours that recall the earth, reinforcing the symbolism in his abstract compositions, in which there is always a trace of the figurative.

Hermine Bokhorst

Structured art: a perception
To  stretch reality  to make an abstract universe with large geometric surfaces.A well structured art, a perception. For Pevernagie painting is  a means for reflection, an evasion, a medicament.

The Bulletin

Figuratively abstract painting
Pevernagie has exhibited worldwide. Using mixed media like metal filings, sand and oil paint, he has created some 15 "figuratively abstract" paintings on the theme of trust and communication with titles like "Could the Milkman be the Devil ?" and "Butchers and Pigs shouldn''t make Friends".

Jean-Pierre Delarge ( Paris )

Very early he has been attracted by "stylization", the rigidness in the figuration, "Why has She got Stars in the Sky?" . Later the figuration has to be guessed  ,"Everybody his Story"  some sharp angles already draw the shape of a man reading.
Those shapes disappear more and more, "Mes cliques et mes Claques",  and he finally reaches the non-figuration thanks to the sharp angles which fill the whole canvass. There he suggests the flight of a bird, a flying plane, or pure geometrical compositions, defined by a thin black line.

La Dernière Heure

Intensity of the message
The human being who is present in all his work is reduced to a congruent portion. Some pale traits, bodies blend into the canvas leaving space to accessories, highlighted by the artist in a more figurative manner. The material is omnipresent in Erik Pevernagie''s paintings and give to his work all the intensity of the messages he tries to transmit. Metal, aluminium,sand. The rugedness of his canvasses is perfectly in tune with the long vanishing lines and the sharp angles of his paintings.


Interpellations in the paintings
His art is evolving around human being and his effort of conviviality. He introduces appeals, interpellations in his paintings by means of graffiti which slide into the color. He likes to bring about emotion and tension. The framing of his paintings often diverts us but so doing doesn''t deteriorate the image.


New consciousness without compromise
Erik Pevernagie gives birth to abstract canvasses, forcefully covered with warm pigments and nervous graffiti before being slowly tamed until the shape emerges. His art is without doubt material and sensual but at the same time bears a real humanitarian message and brings about a new consciousness without compromise.

Mathieu Ladeveze

The importance of small details
Communication or in-communication are recurring central themes in the painter''s work. With a style that might look severe at first sight the artist expresses his art by means of sober colors, graffitis and most contemporary signs. Small details surrounding our daily life,like an electronic razor, the@ sign or an automobile take a totally different meaning and give particular dynamics to his whole work. They simply depict our fears and frustrations.

Piron Dictionary

A world confused and insecure
Typical exponent of the contemporary artist who combines abstract and figurative elements in his work. He starts from an idea and expresses that idea in a plastic way. He depicts a world which has become confused and insecure. He asks questions which can be interpreted by the spectator.

Stéphane Rey & Colette Berthot

Bringing about emotion  with structured geometrical lines
Always starting from an event of the collective memory Pevernagie paints a very insecure world in his very particular way. Half figurative, half abstract he mixes elements of earth, sand, metal cuttings on his canvas in sober beige, grey, velvet red tones. He starts with a simple graffiti, a sketch of a person or a detail from daily life. These are used as a pretext for a network of pure and well structured geometrical lines covering the whole surface of the canvas in order to bring about emotion. The titles are like twinklings in the eye. They are to be interpreted as one feels it. In the first degree or in the second degree. Astonishing in this work is the message that is brought to life. The artist asks questions. Life is seen by Pevernagie in different ways and painting is a way to express them. The paint brush is a means of evasion and the color a gate to reflexion.

Le Vif L''Express

Perpetual tension
Always listening to the world around him Erik Pevernagie grants to our fellow man a dominating place in his paintings. The individual is replaced in his environment  ,which is sometimes evoked by graffiti, and seems to be absorbed, dissolved by the elements surrounding him. The subtle touches of color, the half-abstract, half-figurative shapes, and the specific framing lead to the dissolution of the individual whose life seems to be but superficiality. Pevernagie invites us to go beyond the superficial barriers in order to discover the mystery behind his characters who are in perpetual tension as if they were waiting for something else, for another life.

Le Soir

Transmitting messages

Erik Pevernagie''s canvas transmit messages which are very apparent. His works often start with a written sentence like a graffiti. Then comes the painting.

De Morgen

Wanting to testify
He mainly expresses his belonging to this world in his work. He wants to testify.

Het Nieuwsblad

Communication and particularly the impossibility to communicate are leitmotivs. A very elaborate color palette and shapes which tend towards abstraction give power to the message.

Het Laatste Nieuws
The city, the loneliness and the alienation of its inhabitants is the main theme.


Details of life
"For me it’s even more the shape that one perceives than the idea of the painter which astonishes and alienates me. The painter obviously starts from a situation in everyday life. The shape, the structure impose themselves and create some disturbance. The canvas is almost empty. No cumbersome details. No technical tricks. I understand that it’s the ” details ”, the small objects of the life which surround us and which form the framework through which we perceive the world, which stimulate and encourage the thought. These are the objects which often replace the interior world with many people." (L.Krasnova)

Henry Painter

A vision of  the world
"For me painting is expressing a vision of life", says Pevernagie.  In this process everything deals with the human being.  On the background the fleeing moment. Time that passes by and vanishes.Who are those hybrid, figurative-abstract characters in his work, which dominate so much his painting? People who sneak away from a certain situation.  Through a door.  A staircase.  A train.   By means of a telephone. They stare through the window.   Perhaps they find a solution for their desire of evasion there. Frequently they turn their back to the beholder. Is it because they feel embarrassed, uncomfortable?  Is a back possibly less misleading than a face? People who observe, who act as witnesses, who are still able to be surprised.    They are able to look behind things.   They seem to be looking for a lost sentiment. Isn''t relativity of things not an essential element in our today’s world?  "Reality does not have one side but has many aspects.  Reality is not what we see.   Reality is a fiction.", says Erik Pevernagie. Hence the alienation of his characters.  Alienation from each other, alienation in their familiar environment.  They sometimes miss each consistency and seem to have lost all the pieces of the puzzle.  Details get the full attention.  Those details are torn from a global event.   In that way more perspective is given to this alienation.  Does this alienation not also stand for loneliness?  The individuals are confronted with the other(s).   How many appointments haven’t they been missing already?  How often haven’t they failed when they attempted to establish contact with the other (s).   Who is who behind their behaviour?  Who sits behind the mirror of those eyes?There  is the element of fear.   Fear of the time that expires. The future lies in the dark.   The future is the enemy.   The past is a ruin of false hopes. It sticks as an indelible shade on the days of the painter’s characters.   Those days that whirl with the wind and are torn away by the dictatorship of time. The pitiless pressure of the present. This means a constant confrontation with the own being, the own body, the physical pining away. Which are then the rescue buoys that Erik Pevernagie provides for his people?  How can they survive in this confused world. A fact is that they shiveringly keep themselves at a distance from any highbrow attitude, from any much-ado-about-nothing business, from any doing as if, from any hectic and hysterical behaviour, from any superfluous how-rich-are-you conversations.They can save themselves thanks to poetry, to which they feel attracted.  Poetry of every day, of the very moment, of the unexpected, of the surprising encounter, of the unprogrammed event.   They can still be astonished and do not hesitate to grant themselves largely the time to enjoy their surprise.
They also take the time to dream.   If the pressure from the outside world is too big they withdraw in the safe haven of the dream. They take use of the inner freedom which they conquered uncompromisingly. They can have the flashbacks from their life rewound and review their current experience. They can cherish their memories and moderate their possible incurred wounds.  If they feel the outside world as too heavy or too unessential they seize to an effective antidote: humor. Laugh frees and links jump loose. Erik Pevernagie gives us an iconographical portrayal of the world in all its facets.   He gives us pictures from the collective memory.  He shows us people who deal with the problem of communication with each other. The problems of trust are brought into picture. How and when can we rely on somebody.  How does it feel to be to excluded.   What is “truth” still worth. Is ‘real’ what we believe it to be. The word “value” what does it still imply. What happens when we suddenly become aware of a situation in which we live. How important is it to take decisions, and make choices.   How does one fight the feeling of loneliness. Are there no other ideals to live for than just consumption. Why do people so frequently get trapped in the seduction of corruption. Pevernagie illuminates so many aspects of life in his pictorial world. He translates his experiences into an iconographic production and transcends at the same time the anecdotic. So doing he shows us a particular original and universal art expression.

Wim Toebosch

Painter of  a society in permanent change
Erik Pevernagie is not an impetuous and intuitive painter: he looks, watches, observes, reflects and then  he paints. He is concerned with the current events and he meditates on the behaviors and the concerns of his fellowmen. He throws a circular glance, rather benevolent but sometimes somewhat mocking, not only at our environment which is in perpetual change, but also at the ways in which the painters of the past created an image of their time. In his turn, he proposes his  way in a style at the same time highly original and yet completely in catch with the sights and the assets of his time.
When one encounters Erik Pevernagie’s paintings for the first time, one is struck by their structure. Large, sharp geometrical surfaces (no curves or round shapes, though at a certain time he  often painted the naked female body ) fill the space of the canvas. To this imaginary place he gives a pictorial coherent form which reveals the reflection of his interior world and his thoughts. He could very well extend it beyond the framework, but he rather seems to crystallize the glance on an apparently  vague object, which becomes obvious soon, as one can distinguish an image in a cloud or the play of shadows in the moon.
Generally the topic appears to be the schematized and geometrically stylized silhouette of a man or a  woman. This figure closely integrates in the plays of the triangles, parallelepipeds, of the trapezoids. Man is the pivot of our environment. He determines it and is in his turn determined by it. In order to be able to interpret each painting, it is necessary to decipher on the canvas the words which seem to be hidden under the upper layer of the painting, as if they were registered in filigree. This is a second manner for the artist to make us understand  that the immediate, direct, visual image of the world has a subjacent meaning. Up to us to us to find out. The outward appearances hide another truth.He describes the suffocation of modern city life ("Townscape"); the hopes of people who seek each other ("ICQ"): allusion to Internet contact search; life expectancies ("Waiting for a place behind the geraniums"); the popularity of “prêt à porter” which becomes "prêt à penser", allusion to globalization of thoughts.
A very wide range of emotions and reflections resounds in his compositions: the puzzle of our existences is presented in a homogeneous and harmonious geometry, even if it is broken. 
Pevernagie gives another dimension to his paintings by adding to his pigments tiny metal cuttings which emit a discrete reflection. His colors, with a distinct preference for the "broken" colors: sand rather than yellow or orange, red rust, blue tending to purple or steel are firmly delimited by black features. A lack of fluency may be inherent to any linear geometry. But the painter adds to his pictorial creation a note of humour, which is always subjacently present.
Through his approach Erik Pevernagie’s painting fully takes its place in the main stream of modern art : an art which determines the reality of this hustled century, with its contradictory attitudes and philosophies; an art which does not want to camouflage the weaknesses and the paradoxes which characterize our time and space. At the same time it is a salutary art as this artist keeps in touch with the problems of our time and is engaged in the creation of personal style and a definitely affirmed standpoint, which awakes an echo in us all.

Jan Driesen

JD : Your figures  have been sectioned by the framework at several places. Why?
EP : The framing of the painted surface is a significant decision. On the spot where the subject has been sectioned tension crystallizes. More significant than the suggestion of a simple emotion is the creation of tension and some distress and confusion.
JD : Framing is not only a visual problem?
EP : The framing of the pictorial scene is a visual problem. But it also implies a mental and philosophical aspect. If we take the painting  "Shit. I do not live my life “   you can see that the section is done at the head. This highlights the awareness of a situation with which one can be confronted in life and causes a kind of stop, a reflection on how to manage one’s life in the future.
JD : Certain paintings are more contemplative than others?
EP : This is true. Let us take “I am my best friend” Here also framing is very significant. The two legs require our attention. One should be one’s own friend, one’s best friend. I mean, one should first accept oneself before others can accept you. Without self-esteem you cannot like the others. This is not an ode to narcissism and egocentrism. I want to translate similar situations into a plastic, tactile language.
JD : Tactile ? Is it not especially a visual experience?
EP : Some paintings invite to a physical contact. Of close one can notice the matter. If we take “Man is a walking shadow” we can almost feel the tactile character .
JD : It seems remarkable that many characters turn their back to the beholder. Why this symbolic system?
EP : Indeed, the back is present in many paintings. For example: "The Past was very present", "Along the chains of memory", "Leaving the world" (By the way, the back of people sometimes expresses more than the face.) By making the back of the characters turn we refer to the past which is chronologically passed, but psychologically present. With Bergson I make a difference between chronological time and psychological time. Of course, I make a clear distinction between an experience of extensive and intensive time. In order to reconcile themselves with their past, my characters often call themselves in question. The fact of turning the back generates also a tension and can confuse the beholder for a while. This is significant for me: to create tension to cause an effect of confusion or alienation in order to make the beholder take part in a fundamental feeling or an environmental problem.
JD : Doesn''t this mean a final withdrawal?
EP : Not necessarily. A temporary isolation allows the character to find new energies for new steps in life. Sometimes the withdrawal is tougher as in "Leaving the world", when the person does not see any issue any more. Leaving "the world" can be interpreted as a microcosm, our small middle-class life or just simply life itself. The beholder is free to interpret.
JD : I see many people who are on standby. Is there a connection between the waiting position of the characters and the fact that they turn their back to us?
EP : The waiting position is a sign of quest. This must be put in connection with an attempt to escape an unfortunate situation and to reach new horizons. Often they cannot be detached from their situation. It is like in the myth of Sisyphus who persists in hoisting the rock even if it falls down each time. My characters do not despair. They make as our friend Luther says: "Even if tomorrow the world goes down, today I’ll plant my tree ( nevertheless ) ".
JD : Your characters do not have a simple life?
EP : What is significant for me is man who is in a stage of crisis. He realizes he passed beside the essence of life. He is confronted with a choice. This implies the end of an action in a stage in life or the beginning of an action. He can remain for a moment in a “no mans land “, where he awaits his “eureka”, the moment when he will find a solution. Sometimes this action results in an escape.
JD : Do you consider yourself as an abstract of figurative painter?
EP :I want to testify to what I live each day and this is difficult to translate by pure abstraction. For this reason, I must be able to refer to the world which I see. I absolutely like to express  -in a pictorial way - my alliance, my belonging to the world . If we take “Sounds of Silence”: without the representation of a person it would be an abstract painting.
JD : But can’t this alliance be expressed by pure abstraction?
EP : Perhaps. But for the moment I still want to dwell on the verge of those two conceptions.
JD : Can’t we notice a constant hesitation between the figurative and non-figurative style?
EP : Yes, indeed. But it is precisely at this frontier I want to work. In certain cases, the beholder does not know very well what he sees. This creates a kind of confusion. In this manner, I call upon his participation. If we take   ” Could you give me some attention?”, the outcry of lack of attention is graffitized in the hair of a character. I use this in order to stress that people haven’t got the time for the others anymore and not even for themselves. Paying attention to people is essential.
JD : Can I deduce a positive attitude towards man?
EP : Absolutely. To pose diagnoses is very significant. Only after a radioscopy, one can start to detect solutions for rotten situations.
JD : In fact, you paint thoughts and feelings? How do you materialize these abstract substances?
EP : Idea and figuration often arise at the same time. The idea is expressed in the form of sentences, scraps of sentences, outcries. It is applied to the canvas in the form of graffiti, which is sometimes visible or hardly visible. The figuration has a relationship with the characters or the fragments of characters. Then come matter and the process of colours.
JD : Is the evolution of the image made in a planned manner or rather intuitively?
EP : I have the final goal in my head .The framing of the forms must be exact from the very start. Framing is an initial decision and must cause an electric discharge in the composition. Sometimes a work can be created in an impulsive manner.
JD : Do you spend much time to have a satisfactory result?
EP : A painting can be plastically worked over 10 to 20 times before being accepted. Sometimes, it is difficult to have a harmonious match. And this creates sometimes problems.
JD : This painting “ Like a frozen Image ”  seems to me rather negative as to the feeling, no?
EP : I wouldn’t say so. I simply want to express that we cannot let ourselves freeze in artificial attitudes. Many people live through the eyes of the others. They do not live their own life. They live for “the money and for the look” . It is a stimulation to live a true life, an authentic life. So it leads to a more satisfactory feeling.
JD : In fact your work has a very philosophical literary base? Why not more stress this?
EP : You are right. Literature is a inspiration for my plastic work. I have got a philological background. The source of inspiration is translated into a pictorial element. We could be able to speak about a thematic painting, “ a  painting of ideas”. I do not want to enlarge on this because a painting must have a value in itself.

Mila Stojanovic

Witness of a world in decomposition
In his mind painting simply means to testify by means of colour what is tearing him in the face . This goes so far that Erik Pevernagie sometimes writes his testimony in his work like a graffitor. He witnesses the dismantling of our society. The traditional values are in perdition, which causes this specific confusion of his characters.
He testifies for all those people who miss their life by lack of imagination (“Waiting for Eureka”) and who suddenly become aware that they do not live their  real life (“Was this what life is about?”,” Between Horizon and Vision”). He is a witness of these people who are confronted with the world in decomposition and try to save themselves through poetry (“.In front of a damaged life”, “She was like a poem”), through escape (cfr Halte in the escape) through love. (“Heaven is the other”), through humor (“You needn’t change. Just your socks end underwear”).
He is a witness of these people for whom appearing is more significant than being. They cross life like fixed images(“ Like a  fixed image”). He witnesses the relativity of things and life.( “Things had lost their gravity “) and reminds that man is but a handful of dust (“Man is like a walking shadow”). He witnesses the tragedy of seroposivity which established itself in an insidious way in our society.
He is more than ever fascinated by the “poisoned gifts” of love (“Box of Pandora”, “Why her? Why me?”)