Larissa Tiggelers, tender waves make the softest gestures
Shannon-Garden Smith

The paintings’ surfaces are at once perfect—but, perfection is too whole, too forgone. These are not at-once works. They work on us slowly, imperceptibly, and in our looking, an adjustment occurs. The adjustment feels, perhaps, mutual, like the suspended, indistinct moment when objects become perceptible in the blackness of night. That is, the lightlessness shifts by gradations out of all-over, and in these moments, it feels like more than the eyes adjusting. It is as if the world of things grows concurrently more present, more articulated, more luminous. This body of paintings—so unlike the obstinate shade of night in its soft, light-bathed palette—similarly compels temporal pause, drawing out our looking until that time when we have adjusted to its subtler register.

Somehow, the exceptional wrongness of comparing Larissa Tiggelers’ paintings to the night seizes upon her works’ exquisite practise in inversion. Her titles point to such a space of quiet, contemplative negative: no more than the reverse; other side of someday; it had been legible. I am particularly taken by a furrow on the glow—a phrase lifted from Emily Dickinson’s poem “Further in Summer than the Birds”. The title plants us in the ground, while recasting soil as sky/light/“glow”. The tactile negative implied by “a furrow”—a narrow, depressed line in the ground—inverts the artist’s description of the meeting point between two colours in her paintings. She refers to this seam as a shoreline where a tender lift of paint results from the sweep of her brush. Wonderfully, with patient, intimate looking these delicate crests of paint function optically as a furrows, casting the slightest of shadows in the paintings’ otherwise light fields of colour. Like Dickinson’s renowned use of the dash in her writing—an elegant line of punctuation signaling a wordless momentary cessation; a strike-through the blank of the page, and a join visually traced across space—the lines in Tiggelers’ paintings are also not lines but the place where colours touch as waves and furrows.  

September, 2017

all but gone
Larissa Tiggelers


Examined from up close, the softest gesture reveals itself. This occurs where two colours meet and create a liminal space: a tender wave of raised paint results from the painting’s making. Many layers of paint are applied to achieve opacity, and when my brush sweeps over the modest rise of the masking tape boundary a berm grows. When the tape is removed a crisp lift of paint remains, forming a liminal zone where areas of colour converge. This trace mirrors that of a paused shoreline; the energy of the paintbrush becomes elevated into a three-dimensional relief. Quiet evidence of the hand remains as a testament to the dedication of consideration and time. This slight indication of gesture captivates and rewards close observation.

December 2017

Thirty Minutes of Looking
Larissa Tiggelers

scoop of gesso, drop of yellow, stir, creamy petal

dash more yellow, mix, two stacked buttery petals

smidgen of red, push, flesh of a peach

drop of red, mix, strawberry ice cream

smidgen of blue, swirl, wine-stained concrete

more blue, mix, wet slate

dash more blue, dab and stir, bursting clouds

five drops of yellow, blend, boggy green,

dollop of gesso, stir, underside of a leaf

more yellow, blend, dried mint

tip of red, whip, sunned seaweed

scoop yellow, stir, bruised cilantro

four heavy drops of blue, swirl and wipe, pine needles in shadow

more blue, smear, late summer pond water

dash more blue, mix and whip, more gesso, smear, green river rocks

nip of red, mix, wet river rocks

two nips of red, blend, wet grout

dash of yellow, combine, snip of red, mix, soaked sidewalk

morsel of blue, mix, more gesso, mix, moonlit lake

February, 2017