he emptiness at the heart of western cultural enterprise and the inchoate desires that feed its current incarnation(s) find temporary resolution with the appropriation of non-western attitudes and artefacts. For many western artists, Nepal, identified with an overflow of colour and imagery and hitherto unknown cultural heritage, offers a rich palette to satisfy vagrant needs and complete un-rooted quests. The art of Piet Warffemius works within and against this western project.
Unlike his contemporaries, Warffemius is not readily seduced by the superficial qualities of the exotic and the colourful; his is the middle way. An accounting of one's immediate field of experience, rather than flight through the other. The particulars of the non-European habitat, extracted, establish a configuring presence within Warffemius' work. The artist explores configuration that though static relies on undercurrents of motion. Line and depth, centre and periphery and a cooling shading of colour all have a hand in forming the individuality of each painting. The muting of colour enables Warffemius to incorporate a mutuality of artefact and living process. There is a clockwork tenderness, a counterplay of part(s) and whole that give Warffemius' paintings a living aura, yet a subdued presence.
Abstraction rules here. With the act of seeing and the articulation of the seen parsed in a language that partakes of the universal, one wonders why the artist needed to leave home to find that particular template missing from Europe's architecture of expression. Warffemius' iconic gestures cannot deny the emptiness that sends artists eastward, nor can they dispel that undefined desire that troubles western aesthetic forms, and yet in their small way they may make the absence of the exotic, an acceptable mode for contemporary achievement.