Lucas Cann, purifying the past through painting Lucas Cann has been painting and sculpted for as long as he can remember. He mainly developed his painting/sculpting technique behind the scenes, during the years he was occupied by other professional activities. As a young man he spent one day at the academy, only to find out that this wasn’t an environment in which he was going to blossom. He chose to go his own way as an autodidact. Only now, around his sixtieth, does he come fore with his work, enriched by all the technical knowledge he assembled during the past years, and inspired by a richly filled life with scars here and there, lasting traces of less happy moments, as we all carry along. Lucas Cann's work seems imbued with a certain melancholy, a raw, inescapable darkness. What he calls dream images will be interpreted by most viewers as flashes from a nightmare, the after effects of a bad dream. "There are enough happy painters already," he says, and moreover: there are things that should not be forgotten. For example, the war experiences of his father, which sounded like an exciting story when he was a child, but later overwhelmed him as nothing less than horrible reality. Lucas Cann still carries this deep-rooted suffering in his mental backpack, as the transformation and psychological purification of these memories is still ongoing. Even though it is not easily digestible for the viewer, he believes that painting these stories is his mission. The most immediate result can be found in Clusters of who we were, a narrative series that incorporates war themes. In an almost obsessive way, he searches the internet, until he is completely immersed in a subject and manages to view it from a wide range of different angles. The images that become entangled in his brain, he merges into a photographic composition that combines different layers and perspectives. It is an approach that brings the viewer out of balance and makes him or her anxiously search for meaning. “I give each work the necessary depth, but I prefer to keep the manual to myself. I want to create a space where people can step in and make it their space.” Lucas Cann hands over his work to the viewer and then releases his grip, so that possible interpretations are fluent. However, some of his themes are too delicate and composed of many layers that cannot be easily expressed in words. Allowing the viewer freedom prevents some of his personal wounds from being exposed. Giving too much explanation would mean that the crust is roughly scraped off, resulting in a demystifying effect. This is most noticeable in the series Vestiges of indelible traces, in which silhouettes, faces and limbs reflect through old weathered mirrors. A reflection on aging? A bitter nod to transience? "Pure feelings", Cann states, perhaps referring to his own struggle with the passage of time. Is he the man in the mirror who suddenly shows the traces of his age? This is a multi-interpretable series whose title also refers to the mental scars that are so tangible in Cann's work. "Sometimes the shadow of the traces has more impact than the traces themselves." We are all unwanted and unconscious carriers of the psychological remains of the previous generation in our DNA. Trying to escape by making happy paintings/sculptures, does not work for Lucas Cann: “Cheerfulness does not work for me as an antidote, tristesse has much more depth. I have to portray these scars of mine as a sort of purifying process.” Yet his most recent series More than One, in which he paints groups of people, is less loaded than his previous ones. “I wanted to make something less cerebral, not pushing the viewer in a certain direction. These compositions must also touch you without thinking.” The result is not purely optimistic, but already more light-hearted, more open than before. As a spectator you get more breathing space. Above all, this last series is a technical investigation. How can I make old photos exciting and contemporary? How do I get from a 3D image to 2D? How do I flirt with the limit of abstraction? How do I create movement? Cann is first and foremost a craftsman who strives for the highest possible aesthetic. Ninety percent of the work is done in his photo studio, where he polishes images until they are almost finished. Then the transfer to canvas starts, which is a very precise job. "I am a very impatient person, but in my studio I have the patience of an elephant," says Cann. On his canvases you will not discover any messy paint stains. He works with the most expensive acrylic paint, which still has sufficient pigmentation even after strong dilution. Looking at his works could render you dizzy. “I suggest movement by moving myself.” Many small frenetic brush strokes make the image shine and dance. But when taking a picture, it is again stationary and sharp. The human eye and the camera eye don’t have the same effect, a conversion that hardly can be rationally explained. To realise this suggestion of movement, Lucas Cann places his paintings on an aluminium frame or dibond. In this way he maximizes the resistance of the canvas and keeps the vibration as limited as possible. “I cherish a very fond love for my canvases and their specific tension, but I had to make a concession here.” This is typical of Cann: his submission to the material, which is just as important as his dedication to content and concept. With paint, he deals in the same dedicated way: “I paint in very subtle nuances. If the paint dries up and I can no longer find the right colour, the work is forcedly halted. It is therefore of the utmost importance that I can keep my palette for a while. " Lucas Cann is a professional who loves to show his mastery. At the same time, he is a true artistic soul for whom a daily stay in the studio is essential. “It’s my greatest consolation, I’m lost without the ability to create,” he admits. His work acts as a kind of healing, an opportunity to anoint the soul. Rarely, however, is it pure pleasure.” Creating is not the best thing on earth for me. I go through too many emotions. But if it wasn’t a struggle, then I was just a commission painter. Painting for me is an urge that has become a compulsion. I want to paint better every day.” Never shallow, always to the bottom, grabbling in the humus layer of our mind, that characterizes the work of Lucas Cann.
schilderkunst - acryl
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