Jan-Henri Booyens’ work is often described in terms of a struggle between the representational and abstract, the rational and chaotic. His affinity and critical engagement with Modernism is coupled with his relationship to the South African landscape, both physical and social, manifesting in an intuitive, texture-rich layering of oil paint on canvas and bold use of colour and line. Booyens incorporates his experimentation with street art, photography, and digital ‘Glitch Art’ and GIFs into his canvasses.
In Gedagtestroom, Booyens affected a subtle shift in his work from concerns with graphic pattern and repetition to experiments in texture and line. It signalled a swivel in the artist’s gaze, from the external to the internal, with the artist destroying and resurrecting his paintings, mixing his media and introducing new source material. Through the chaos of these compositions there comes a considered meditation on the productivity of his automatic method that brings a visual order to what might be otherwise seen as random. The work is simultaneously fearless and defiant, and vulnerable.