In South Africa Hans van Hoek lived in a small town on the edge of Kleine Karoo, an arid and desolate landscape. In order to get there, you pass through a gorge with a waterfall. This is the spot that for many years provided - and continues to provide - Hans van Hoek with his inspiration for the theme of 'waterfalls'. It is a subject that, in countless variations, regularly returns to his paintings and watercolours. The watercolours for this exhibition were all created around 2000, during this South African period. Highly abstracted into no more than broad, vigorously applied brushstrokes, the artist surely also sees the waterfall as symbolizing life-giving water, in a landscape sometimes furnished with figures, usually men and women bathers.

Van Hoek has been back living in Deurne, the village of his birth in Brabant, for a few years now, but within the universal thematic of the landscape he still frequently harks back to the waterfall in that gorge in South Africa. But water already played a significant role in Hans van Hoek's older work from before his time in South Africa. The Zwarte Water (Black Water) in the vast landscape of the Peel close to Deurne was a subject often depicted in his paintings.

Crossing Dark Waters is prosaic and poetic, is abstract and impressionist, both literary and painterly, as explicit as it is mysterious. The clearest possible description of Hans van Hoek's art.

Paul van Rosmalen
Amsterdam, August 2019

The exhibition "Hans van Hoek, Kimonos" can be seen in the Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch from 14 September 2019 through 19 January 2020.