Artist statement

Donald Schenkel (1991) creates subtle gradients with oil paints. He seeks for smoothness in color transitions that can lead the eye into the faraway. Sometimes these colors flash purely from the canvas, at other times they are diluted into darkening twilights. Diverse surfaces like glass or canvas carry layers of paint in distinctive ways, giving rise to an ever-greater sense of depth or translucent lightness.

During the years of working on gradients, several threads have emerged in his artistic practice. Approaching oil paints as material instead of a means to create an image, led to a focus on the qualities of paints and the behavior of colors. Translucent blues lead the way to a sense of endless space and light. Translucency expresses depth in the sense of an expanse: it gives space. Color gradients can invoke the impression of translucency, yet at the same time it is a very real characteristic of oil paint as it can appear like glass or lacquer. Often fixed on aluminum plates these color transitions seem to float.

On the other hand there is the depth expressed by shadows dark gradients in which the lighter colors seem to dissolve. Shadows linger on the edge of the unknown, mystical and dark. Yet these gradients contain a soothing subtlety that makes them the natural viewpoint for contemplation. Often made on wood and sometimes appearing as sculptures, these color transitions are grounded but deep.

As the visual language develops geometrical shapes form the boundaries of gradients. It is not clear whether they float in space or are planes of gradients put in perspective. These shapes play with the same sense of depth and immaterial that also seems to be the quality of blue itself. In working with glass and perspex as transparent materials a whole new field of possibilities is laid bare.

Selected Exhibitions


KunstRAI 2024, Root Gallery, 27 March – 3 April – group (upcoming)


MOORDN Art Fair 2023, ATTN Gallery, Guangzhou, P.R. China, 8-12 December – group

THERESI_ART 08, ART[S] Gallery Simone Jansen, the Netherlands, November – group

Art The Hague 2023, Root Gallery – The Hague, the Netherlands, October – group

KunstRAI 2023, Root Gallery – Amsterdam, the Netherlands, May – group

New Group Show, group, Root Gallery – Rotterdam, The Netherlands, March-April

Group Show, group, Root Gallery – Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Jan-March

THERESI_ART 05, ART[S] Gallery Simone Jansen, the Netherlands, November – group 

Wild Summer of Art Part I – Brutus, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, juli-aug – group

KunstRAI, Root Gallery – Amsterdam, the Netherlands, April – group 

THERESI_ART 02, ART[S] Gallery Simone Jansen, the Netherlands, January – group 

The Others Art Fair, Root Gallery – Turin, Italy, November – group

THERESI_ART 01 – group, ART[s] Gallery – Noordwijk, the Netherlands, September 

Multiples of One – solo, Root Gallery – Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Aug-October

Meditations on colour – solo, Art23 Contemporary Art Gallery – Guangzhou, China

KunstRAI – group, Amsterdam RAI, Root Gallery – Amsterdam, the Netherlands, September

Amsterdam Fashion Week x HUB – group, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, September

The Calm – group, Art23 Contemporary Art Gallery – Guangzhou, China

Big Art – solo, Root Gallery – Zaandam, The Netherlands, October

Meshbox #9 – duo, Foundation Mesh – Rotterdam, The Netherlands, January

The White Mirror – solo, Assembled by Root gallery – Rotterdam, The Netherlands, October

The Others Art Fair – group, Assembled by Root – Turin, Italy, November

Orange Wave – solo, Galerie 95 – Biel/Bienne, Zwitserland, August

KunstRAI – group, Amsterdam RAI, Assembled by Root – Amsterdam, the Netherlands, April

CO/LAB 4 – group, Torrance Art Museum – Torrance, United States of America, March

Behaviour Of Colours – solo, Art23 Contemporary Art Gallery – Guangzhou, China, March

The New Current – group, Cruise Terminal Rotterdam – Rotterdam, the Netherlands, February

Colour Composition No. 1 – solo, Gortemaker Algra Feenstra – Rotterdam, The Netherlands, January

This Art Fair, Beurs van Berlage – group, Assembled by Root – Amsterdam, the Netherlands, December

Rolling Snowball, AMNUA – group – Nanjing, P.R. China, December

Art The Hague, Fokker Terminal – group, Assembled by Root – the Hague, the Netherlands, September

Presentation of artworks at American Chamber Of Commerce of South China – Guangzhou, P.R. China, 2018

Beyond and Below – duo, Assembled by Root gallery, Rotterdam

Club Gem Summer Show – group, Club Gem, Rotterdam

The Mattering of Colour – group presentation and co-curator at the St Job building for MILLTEN Rotterdam

Night Shift Edition #1 – group, Galerie de Kromme Elleboog, 2018

Qade Solo Projects 2018 – solo presentation by Assembled by Root, Rotterdam

KickstART II – group exhibition and project, In4Art Projectspace, Amsterdam

Intangible Materials – duo, Assembled by Root gallery, Rotterdam

De Aanschouw wissel #832 – solo, Rotterdam, August

Masters of Rotterdam at North Sea Jazz – group, Rotterdam

KunstRAI 2017, Assembled by Root, Rotterdam

Tension Transitory: Non-Word – Stroop Rotterdam, duo exhibition with Patricia Qi

The New Current 2017, Rotterdam

Colour, ACE exhibition – group, S/ash Ga\\ery, Worm, Rotterdam

Rotterdam Contemporary 2017 – group presentation, Assembled by Root, Rotterdam

Museumnacht 010 – group, Bob Smit Gallery, Rotterdam

Winterwolven, Roodkapje Rotterdam – group, in collaboration with Patricia Qi, Arminius Church, Rotterdam, November

Court of Justice – solo, Rechtbank Rotterdam

The Faraway Comes Near – solo, Root Expositions Gallery, Rotterdam, September

NO WALLS EXPO – group, North Sea Jazz, Rotterdam, July

Route du Nord – group, curated by CBK, Rotterdam, June

In This Moment – group, Root Gallery – Rotterdam, April

OBJECT Rotterdam – duo, Root Gallery- Rotterdam, February

Root vindt Thuis – group, Root Expositions Gallery, Rotterdam

Damage Playground – group, Root Expositions Gallery, Rotterdam, October/January

Inside | Outside at Kreaz – group, Makkum, July/September

Keilefest – group, Root Expositions – Rotterdam, July

Root Expositions #2 – group, by Root Expositions Rotterdam

Dutch Design Week – group, Eindhoven

Passkey Festival – group, Montepulciano, Italië

Root Expositions #1 – group, by Root Expositions Rotterdam


Bachelor of Education, Willem the Kooning Academy, Rotterdam

Propedeuse, International Bachelor of Arts and Culture, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Propedeuse Game Design and Development, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht

VWO, Atheneum, Stanislascollege Westplantsoen, Delft


Internship at Het Lyceum Rotterdam

Internship at KunstPunt Gouda

Internship at Gallery Frank Taal, Rotterdam

Assistent to artist Sarah van der Pols



Co-curator at Galerie Lecq, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in collaboration with Sue van Geijn

Co-curator of Face Value, Rotterdam, in collaboration with Yvonne de Jong and MILLTEN Rotterdam

Co-curator of When the Dust has Settled, Rotterdam, in collaboration with Yvonne de Jong and MILLTEN Rotterdam

Co-curator of The Mattering of Colour, Rotterdam, in collaboration with Yvonne de Jong and MILLTEN Rotterdam

Teacher in Art History, evening course for adults at Stichting Cultuur Moerdijk, in collaboration with Inouschka de Nooijer

Assistent at Gallery Frank Taal

Organizing lectures/debates on Art, Design and the Art World

Peer coaching at Willem the Kooning Academy



05-02-2019 – De Volkskrant – Article and interview “Vijftien jonge kunstenaars presenteren hun werk in de Cruise Terminal tijdens de Art Rotterdam Week

06 – 03 -2019 – My Guangdong Radio – 15 minute interview

12 – 03 – 2019 – Dutch Artist Donald Schenkel on Adopting a Chinese State of Mind, Thats Mags Guangzhou: from=singlemessage&isappinstalled=0

12-03-2019 – Thats Mags Guangzhou – Article and interview “Dutch Artist Donald Schenkel on Adopting a Chinese State of Mind”

01-04-2019 – Collection Auction Magazine, April – Article and review “唐纳德·山克尔,因“入色”而出色”


Part of the In4Art collection