Tag Archives: drawing

Inspiration and Advice from Sol LeWitt

Detailed, painstaking, strangely liberating.  These terms have often been used to describe Sol LeWitt’s large drawings and paintings that span entire walls in some of the most well-known museums in the world.  LeWitt came up with the concept behind the work, then employed hundreds of working artists, art students and art historians to execute them–allowing his works to be subject to new and unexpected changes throughout the process.

In this way, “each instantiation, each iteration, is a new interpretation, as is a new performance of a musical score” (Dia: Beacon, Riggio Galleries).

A New York Times article written after LeWitt’s death stated, “…Mr. LeWitt gently reminded everybody that architects are called artists — good architects, anyway — even though they don’t lay their own bricks, just as composers write music that other people play but are still musical artists. Mr. LeWitt, by his methods, permitted other people to participate in the creative process, to become artists themselves.”

LeWitt offers a refreshing approach to art, especially in some of his personal writing.  In a letter to fellow artist Eva Hesse, LeWitt wrote: “Stop it and just DO.  Try and tickle something inside you, your ‘weird humor.’ You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool… You are not responsible for the world — you are only responsible for your work, so do it. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be.”

LeWitt started out as a graphic designer for the architect I.M. Pei, and later drew on this background to form his signature solid-colored, flat painting and drawing style.  Many of his earlier works were devoid of colors; later he switched to adding more colors and curves to his pieces in the 1980’s.  People questioned why the stark conceptualist suddenly switched, and he responded, “Why not?”

“A life in art is an unimaginable and unpredictable experience” (Sol LeWitt).

Meet artist Gwyneth Leech

REA stumbled upon the artwork of Gwyneth Leech in the Flatiron building, where she creates beautiful drawings on paper coffee cups and hangs them from the ceiling.  We were so impressed and inspired by her work, that we decided to shoot a quick film and interview her for our “REA APPROVED” blog.  Check out the video here.

Artwork of Hans Op de Beeck

By Lecia Bushak, REA Intern

Hans op de Beeck is a Belgian artist whose themes touch upon alienation in modern society, recreating unremarkable and desolate landscapes in painstaking detail.  Through architectural drawings, tiny models and films, Hans op de Beeck depicts the emptiness, melancholy, and absurdity he observes in modern scenes such as parking lots, gardens and homes.

“I see such situations as absurd bits of information,” he once said.  “As artist you are able to present them. It is a human inability to grasp the reason for life, but it is possible to, in certain ways, touch upon it.”


One Person Landscape is a disturbing scene designed for the viewing of only one person.  It is the ability to capture the individual viewer’s memory and isolation in an almost enchanting way, that makes Hans op de Beeck’s work quite melancholy and romantic.

One Person Landscape, 2000

Location (2) (First Version)

Location (2) (First Version) moves beyond individual memory and observes the artificiality of modern public space.  His website states, “…The artist comments ironically on the contrast between the Western preoccupation with the romantic notion of an idealized nature contrasted against the rusty playground equipment and artificial rocks.”

Secret Garden, 2010


The creative writing of Hans op de Beeck is equally poignant as it’s rooted in memory.  The narrator in “Spa” is an aging man who, against his wishes, is sent by his daughter to a therapeutic spa for three weeks.  During his lonesome stay amongst sad, aging bodies, the narrator, once a motivated scientist, looks back upon his life and wonders where all the ambition led him – nowadays the simple companionship of a stray dog can bring tears to his eyes.

Staged Memory (2), 2000

In Staged Memory (2) the viewer stands in front of a small table upon which a tiny backyard garden sits.  That tiny scene is little yet powerful — limited in physicality, but boundless in the memories it conjures.  Do you remember your grandparents’ garden, behind that little house, or perhaps the first house you ever lived in?  Maybe it’s a house you were only in once, but the smells and colors of that certain place still reside in a little cupboard in your mind, that in front of Hans op de Beeck’s tiny table model, are opened anew.  They can be beautiful memories or disturbing ones that you have closed off for years.  This little model is artificial, but feels very real.

Memories grow more evasive as one grows older; the details are forgotten; there is only a feeling that remains – a feeling of that time.  Hans op de Beeck is able to capture that feeling in his work.

Staged Memory (1), 2000

Landscapes, Places

Below you will find more examples of Hans op de Beeck’s work depicting desolate landscapes or quiet scenes.  You can also find more of Hans op de Beeck’s portfolio and short stories on his website, which is a work of art in itself.

Tom Thumb series, 2004

Twin Garden, 2000

Table (2), 2006

Exterior (2), 2011

Landscape for Henri, 2004