There is a participatory element in George Dewitte's work that involves interchanges between the work, it's origin, the environment in which it is shown and the knowledge which the viewer is able to bring to the process. What at first take may seem to be an optical exercise - and there is no doubt that this is indeed a major component - changes as the brain engages in the translation and sorting of the perceptive experience. It is a delightful sensation, standing in front of a George Dewitte, in the daytime with the natural light popping the dots into action or in the darkness when the ultraviolet component brings about a visual depth of field that immediately transcends into magic.
The initial randomness of the dots rapidly forms patterns and creates associations of movement. Understanding the complexities working upon the brain, through clues as to the original inspiration, furthers the enjoyment of the work.
First clue: In the painting of thousands of dots, there is evidence of a stoic exercise in steadiness and concentration. There is a spiritual practice at work, a meditative repetition that is very like the intoning of a mantra. By focusing on a limiting system, a quiet and peace ensues and that sense of security, especially when captured within a circular format, operates in much the same way as a mandala. The paths, looping and spiralling outwards, returning and crisscrossing, have a sonorous effect, a passive influence. Yet the optical charge is active - and Dewitte further activates the electricity with the black light. The resulting dynamic is balanced, positive and reinforcing.
Second clue: the patterns themselves seem to have a predetermined logic. Based on geometrical equations relating to quantum physics, the permeability of relationships in the patterning becomes dependant on an objective formula. The sensation caused by the dots, although heady and even dizzy, are based on a reasonable premise, often one that relates directly to the natural world as in the use of the molecular equations for elements. The other source of the patterning comes from DeWitte's personal background. With Métis status and upbringing feeding into his art-making, the traditional sacred designs from his native culture is also influencing the choices he makes in his configurations.
Third clue: The materials that Dewitte chooses and his use of them is informed by a post modern consciousness. He is like a scientist in his exactitude, an inventor in his choice of complimentary enhancements such as the black light or modular formats and an artist in his choice of gestural and textural application. As an artistic product, the work is slick, polished and effective.
The Fourth (and perhaps most prescient) Clue: There is no didacticism in DeWitte's work. He is as balanced and even towards those who come into contact with his work as he is in his practice. In a world where politics have inserted themselves into board rooms and bedrooms, Dewitte brings forth a magnificent clarity the work stands for itself, vested with meaning but free of subversive coercion.
Copyright © 2007, Julie Oakes