Big Art 2020 – Triptych of Verticals
Join us for the opening of Big Art 2020 on Thursday the 1st of October! Make sure to book your timeslot beforehand and to be in time, so that we can ensure a pleasant visit to the fair! My latest work Triptych of Verticals will be on view during Big Art 2020, represented by Root Gallery.
Read more about visiting Big Art 2020 at

Donald Schenkel’s latest work Triptych of Verticals will be on view during Big Art 2020.

Triptych of Verticals
Triptych of Verticals, 2020, oil paint on linen on aluminium frame, 480 x 640 cm, photography by Roza Schous

In Triptych of Verticals, Donald Schenkel (1991) connects three immense canvases painted with oil paint through their composition. The compositions of these works consist of vertical columns linked together in fields of colour. The vertical movement exists as a vibration in a continuum of colours that flow from left to right.

Triptych of Verticals, Photography by Roza Schous

With this triptych, Donald merges processes that he has developed in the past year and a half. Early in 2019, he expanded his colour range far beyond his typical palette, allowing for more diverse results and leading to a gradual increase in his use of brighter colours and larger canvases. This newfound scope was first expressed in Donald’s solo exhibition ‘Behaviour of Colours’ (Guangzhou).

Exhibition view of Behaviour of Colours, Art23, Guangzhou (P.R. China)
Exhibition view of The White Mirror Solo Exhibition in Rotterdam (NL)

After his solo exhibition ‘The White Mirror’ at Root Gallery (Rotterdam), which revolved around the rethinking of the essence of his work, Donald began searching for a way to let his new colour palette mature. He started experimenting with a series of complex colour transitions in early 2020, followed by a further series of works containing bright transitions into muted hazy tones. This, in turn, has led to the works before you: an exploration into how the aforementioned experiments marry successfully with scale.

Studio view of colour research

Triptych of Verticals places intense, vibrant and bright colours next to calm muted tones. When viewed closely, the blending of these tones results into grey hues and suggests an absence of colour. From afar however, these muted tones form beams of light.

Close up, Photography by Roza Schous
Close up, Photography by Roza Schous
Close up, Photography by Roza Schous

In order to create these compositions, Donald visualises his works initially as a wave and then translates the peaks and troughs of this wave into corresponding darks and lights, intuitively filling in the appropriate colour based on years of experimentation. The result embodies a contradiction of both vertical and horizontal movement, similar to ripples on a body of water.

Build-up of Big Art 2020

Big Art is a pop-up platform for XL art installations and huge design objects, brought to you by a blend of established artists and designers as well as upcoming talents. Every autumn Big Art occupies an iconic building in or around Amsterdam where dozens of artists and designers fill the place with a unique mix of monumental paintings, oversized drawings, large sculptures, big photos and installations.

Build-up Big Art 2020
Exhibition view, Photography by Roza Schous