Exhibition coup for King’s Lynn gallery

One of the works of 85-year-old Dutch artist herman de vries
One of the works of 85-year-old Dutch artist herman de vries

The first exhibition in the UK of the work of Dutch artist herman de vries occupies the spring season at GroundWork Gallery, in Purfleet Street, Lynn. Now aged 85, he is a grand figure in the world of art and environment, renowned for his sensitive attention to nature. In spite of the artist’s growing fame, he retains a modesty which makes him adamant that his name should always be spelt in lower case.

Now aged 85, herman de vries is a grand figure in the world of art and environment, renowned for his sensitive attention to nature.

In spite of the artist’s growing fame, he retains a modesty which makes him adamant that his name should always be spelt in lower case.

Gallery director Veronica Sekules says: “I am pleased and proud that GroundWork Gallery is the first venue to show a comprehensive exhibition by herman de vries in the UK.

“It takes its place alongside what has become the gallery’s signature work, Richard Long’s Great Ouse Mud Drawing,which he made in situ for its opening in 2015.”

The exhibition will be all about stones and earth, presenting the artist’s assemblages of the world’s natural resources.

herman de vries

herman de vries

Remarkably varied soil samples from the Seychelles Islands and the Jura Mountains become rubbed drawings, revealing the range of colours otherwise hidden beneath the undergrowth.

A framed lapidarium on the wall will transform what began as a seemingly random collection of the world’s pebbles into a little display of wondrous order and variety. A floor installation of precisely cut stones from the Jura becomes a museum for a landscape which has since disappeared, lost to development.

The exhibition will includes his life’s work, the comprehensive ‘earth museum catalogue’, recently published as a limited edition.

de vries is a poet both with words and images. He began as a scientist and has retained some of the attitudes from that profession: an investigative attitude to the world, an attention to experiment and clarity of presentation. He was a member of the zero group in the 1960s, making precise white works with measured geometry.

In 2015, de vries was the artist representing the Netherlands in the national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (he was born in Alkmaar).

Since then he has exhibited in France, Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic, and continues with major exhibitions for 2017 in Spain, Germany and Italy.

Upstairs at GroundWork, alongside its displays of environmentally-themed jewellery, features works about stones by Sibylle Eimermacher, the German artist from Arnhem in the Netherlands.

The exhibition by herman de vries opens to the public on Saturday, March 11, and will continue to June 30.

GroundWork Gallery is continuing to show the Out of the Wood exhibition today and tomorrow, then again on Friday and Saturday, January 20-21, from 11am-4pm each day.