Featuring work by Miel Olise Kjærgaard, Jamie Gray Williams, Ronnie Robinson & Bobbi Essers

(Curated by Thom Oosterhof for The Curators Room)

12 January 2023 – 04 March 2023


The Curators Room – La Oficina

Carrer de Trafalgar, 45


Instagram: the_curators_roo,

The Curators Room is proud to present the group show, Firestarter, curated by the New Zealand-born, Amsterdam based curator, Thom Oosterhof. The show weaves together a series of audacious visions with works by 4 international artists: Mie Olise Kjærgaard, Jamie Gray Williams, Ronnie Robinson and Bobbi Essers. The central theme that guided the curatorial selection for the show is the daring and fearless nature innate to the authors’ respective processes and techniques.

This show marks Oosterhof’s 5th curatorial effort; a passion explored in the past few years following some 10 years of collecting art. The perspective cultivated by his experience as a collector places emphasis not merely in selection but in a kind of matchmaking: the curator seeks to find meaningful ways of inserting exciting and challenging work into the art market with less importance placed in heady discourses or concepts that typically dominate European art spaces. This speaks to his methodology which is fuelled by the desire to nurture a new generation of collectors through accessible and non-intimidating approaches to presenting art.

The title of the present show references The Prodigy song from 1996 which shares the same name. Leaving the lyrics aside, Oosterhof took more inspiration from the idea of bravery and fearlessness; attributes heavily present in the selection of works. The 4 artists share a

common interest in the human (or non-human) figure yet rely greatly on their capacity to abstract and break the recognisable figure down. From wild art brut motifs to almost necro-hyperrealistic studies, the varied approaches are centralised by the artists’ brave way of dissolving the canons that have historically defined classical figurative portraiture.

Kjærgaard’s raging banshee feminists who fearlessly ride ambiguous beasts articulate a zany narrative about restoring lost power through systemic oppression. Robinson’s confrontational yet intuitively painted busts depict real people who tell their story via emotions that seep through their expressive eyes and strong presence. Essers is described as the “antagonist,” given that she is a young Dutch artist and a recent graduate (a generational inclusion Oosterhof makes in each one of his shows) who channels somewhat explicit, semi-sexual and anatomical imagery that show how the grotesque can be elegant, soft and vulnerable. In Williams’ case, odd figures fill the frame in a way that is less aggressive and instead opts for a unique use of colour, integrating swathes and swashes of oranges and yellows that distort space in an intimate and affective painterly environment.

In the words of the curator, “when I think curatorially, I try to grapple with the idea of what makes my contributions valuable. What does my personal vision and selection bring to the table? I want to move away from the idea of a curator who simply selects. What conversations do I spark in bringing a series of artists together, both between them and with the public? I am particularly interested in coming up with an idea in dialogue with the artists to then create a unique connection with the viewer which they wouldn’t have had without our interventions.

He continues, “with that, it is exciting to provide value where it might seem like there isn’t which in turn may speak about how I end up understanding myself through the process. In this show specifically, I explore my love of the idea of starting metaphorical fires: to gently incite, provoke or simply fan the flames and embers. I feel there’s always room for new voices who can start fires in new ways. Bringing the show to Barcelona is a gesture that does exactly this.

Mie Olise Kjærgaard
Skateboarding Away
Acrylic on canvas
190 x 190 cm

Mie Olise Kjærgaard
Your Gaze Hits My Sock
Acrylic on canvas
120 x 100 cm

acrylic and oil on canvas
218.4 x 169.6 cm

The Painter: Slop
Acrylic and oil on canvas
213.4 x 167.6 cm

Bobbi Essers
Pull up in your fast car
145 x 150 cm
Oil paint on canvas

A League of Their Own
Oil on linen
179 x 120 cm

Ronnie Robinson
A Soldier’s Story
Oil on linen
184 x 122 cm