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Hugo Brutin in "De Zeewacht" in reply to an exposition in Ostend. (1993)

The race of artists that react to the things happening around them in an emotive way has not died out yet. Some of them simulate some moved feelings; others, like Bob De Groof, really seem to be affected by the victims' despair, the irrepressible cruelties of oppressors and the excessive hypocrisy of so-called peace-loving politicians and ambassadors. De Groof clearly is not an armchair artist, he wants to tell something, he wants to express profound emotions by means of his own pictural language. He does this in a way that seems to be in his line in an atmosphere of gesticulation and fiery use of colours, nevertheless giving in to the laws of harmony and power of expression. His canvas may come over as being aggressive and painful, their allusions may be very direct, but nevertheless there has always been taken care of expressive imagery; colours are not just spread like that, stripes do not just represent passion, but they also are part of the painting's construction. There is composition, there are tensions; outside its context a painting can be looked at as a monument of picturality. One could be inclined to cite Pollock and Bervoets in connection with his atmosphere or his way of painting. There is indeed many violence, Dripping and gesticulation present in his paintings. Bob De Groof however, does not talk about himself like Bervoets does and his sign language serves the formation of an image which is the incarnation of a certain way of speaking. When the myth of tyranny and cruelty, war and humiliation is described, we rather think of a Szymkowicz and at certain moments we see flashes of a Jan Cox...

 

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