About his work… 

The interview starts rather solemnly, I am sitting in front of the painter, my list of questions on my knees, surrounded by his canvas like many obedient soldiers. 

Silent, he patiently waits for the questions… I get into it, I ask him to tell me about this new adventure, so different from previous works and all of a sudden, the metamorphosis happens, the little well-behaved and reserved man sits up straight, and comes to life with passion; he starts by talking about Hubble in 1990, Kepler in 2009, Tess in April 2018, prodigious telescopes sent by the American space agency, and soon James Webb in 2020, whom will leave in order to scan exoplanets outside of our solar system and will be able to “probe the mysterious structures and the origins of our Universe”…

Eric is loquacious. 

What sort of images will they send back? 

Some pixels, which could appear to our ignorant eyes as meaningless, that however, will contain a wealth of information.

What seems little is, in fact, infinite. 

64 pixels hold as many possibilities, only on how they are positioned, than there are atoms in the Universe. 

Eric, as you will have realized, is also passionate about astrophysics, a language made of numbers and calculations, which fascinates him. 

He shows me a model of the ISS (International Space Station) that he entirely made in order, he says, to better understand. 

 

This new study started on canvas divided in 49 pixels to evolve and stabilize to 100 pixels. 

These are not only little squares placed one next to the other; the way in which they are positioned and organized can give a lot of information to the brain which will recreate an image, a pattern. 

The brain interprets everything, it looks for meaning everywhere, even where there are none. 

The image created deep down within the eye is analyzed point by point before being passed to the brain in coded signals.  

 

Just like humans, for whom life is just an exercise of structuration, the brain permanently structures its environment by transforming the information received by the retina into known items. 

By combining his pixels “in the right order”, the painter, thereby, plays to offer us optical illusions (pareidolia); he stimulates our brain to find meaning and shapes by the assimilation of supposedly random colors to referenced colors. 

 

His approach is very elaborated and requires various computerized intervention, the first one allowing him to decompose the color of images or existing chosen items, into numbers ranging from 0 to 255. 

 

Then, he codes colors to the RGB format (Red, Green, Blue) but also CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key [Black]) and TSL (Tint, Saturation, Lightness).

The information is then transcribed in order for him to reorganize the pixels in the right order while still knowing their exact composition. 

Eric only uses 3 colors: cyan, magenta, and yellow. 

 

This reorganization can be done in 2 different ways: 

The possibilities are vertiginous, but the final harmony only leaves few options, he tells me after trying and verifying it. 

 

When it is about ancient portraits or paintings, the order is meticulously respected, and here we find all the humility of the painter, the exercise is now to tame the magic of color and light. 

However, in his new paintings, the painter chooses to reorganize colors to give them a different rhythm then the one they have, in some circumstances defined by him at random, or based on mathematical formulas decided by himself. 

He tries several until he gets the result that satisfies him. 

Then, he likes to quote Einstein, whom wanted his mathematical formulas to be elegant, who said that a mathematical formula had to be simple and beautiful. 

 

He stands up, looks for one of his paintings and tells me: “here is one that satisfies me, I find it simple and beautiful”. 

 

Florence Swaters

August 2018

 © 2018 by Eric Moerenhout.