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Eliot’s Four Quartets it is perhaps more the recognition of time past and time present that breathes through the poems that kindles the creative imagination of the artist. In a time and a place, in the conscious and unconscious, and in a studio 50 miles east of East Coker, a long way from her native Netherlands, Ineke Van Der Wal paints. Her work, over time, builds up, layer by layer, seeking then obscuring a truth: “The paintings are an enduring battle with intention and endeavour” Time Present and Time Past: Ineke Van Der Wal What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning The end is where we start from. T.S. Eliot This exhibition, Quartet, brings together many ideas and owes at its heart a debt to T.S.Eliot. T.S. Eliot This exhibition, Quartet, brings together many ideas and owes at its heart a debt to T.S.Eliot. Nothing in a literal sense, nothing so straight forward. These paintings are less a conjunction but rather an affectionate nod. And, similarly, while there is affection in the title of Quartet towards She says. The time they take to create is part of the inherent dialogue the artist is having with time (and with us), our futile battle against it, and how in moments of clarity there is always further obscurity. The work is deliberately opaque. It seeks ambiguity and reaches, I believe through that, with an offer of a new truth. In his introduction to Bite Of The Night, Howard Barker’s Second Prologue says; “I honour you too much To paste you with what you already know” So it is in the work of Ineke. She is asking bigger questions, working harder, unconfident of her knowledge and curious where her journey will go, ignorant to destination and travelling anyway. As I reflect on a cold winter day, I of me recall my first visit to her studio on a searing hot day in summer. What was striking to me then, and remains so now, was how quickly the small studio disappeared and the paintings took over; they pulled me towards them with their depth and mystery and ask questions of me. At first glance they suggest things; places, form, nature. And not these things too… Whilst abstract in and of themselves, those suggestions weren’t wrong; there are things within the paintings to seek and unearth, codes in their bloodline, pointers at their origin, and the twinkle of desire to be read and understood. A suggestion of transparency and simplicity to hide their true intention. They address us now and demand we take a moment. Past and present converge, our past, and our present breathing in synchronicity with the artist in shared time and space. They seek to expose something elusive, perhaps in us, but something the artist too is reaching for. Perhaps it is clarity, an all-conquering answer? Or perhaps it is as T.S. Eliot suggests; “We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.” As with all collections of new work we also reflect on the work that went before. Each new body of work is a milestone and a reflection of the life past and the life to come. The work is an act of introspection and through the work the artist also undergoes change. And so do I. As I look into the darkness of the canvases I see details, little gestures, moments that catch me by surprise. Stepping in so all I can see is the painted landscape I am enveloped by a new world where thinking disappears. And, I suggest, ultimately this is the point for Ineke; to suppress knowledge and allow the unconscious to take over, to park the suffocating blanket of opinion and disappear into a space of wonder. There are influences, there are bloodlines (I see the colour and ambition of Rembrandt) but, just like Eliot, these are stations we pass through, Burnt Norton, East Coker, and Little Gidding, on our way back to the start. I am a wordy person but For now as consciousness descends 'There appears to be so little time, and so much to do, and work to make, and my failings so often let me down. And yet, I feel an inherent urgency to work. My painting is a process of visual thinking and processing for the times the words run out to capture the overwhelming and overpowering dream for long forgotten places .' Ineke Van De Wal In my beginning, this introduction, is also, here, my end. Stephen Wrentmore

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