Most of Arends’ Boxes consist of what you could describe as a series of thin skins laid over a framework, a body, of wood or steel or even cardboard: the one, a layer of wax and graphite, and the other, a layer of oil paint, alternately concealing and revealing what lies beneath. The wax has been laid down by hand, the traces of the pencil and pigment barely visible, yet no less present, through the traces of the artist’s hands.
What brings the materiality of the surface to light is,
paradoxically, Arends’ erasures: opened up, poked full of holes, the skins are twinned, intertwined. They become at once figure and ground. This might seem like a merely academic exercise were it not for the strangely unsettling effect of being asked to look at a work which seems simultaneously finished and in danger of unraveling altogether: as though the paintings are a whole cloth, caught in the process of coming slowly undone. Or, slowly coming together.