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Walter Dermul

Walter Dermul is a painter who focuses on interiors, figures, architecture and their relationships. He has exhibited extensively throughout Belgium including solo exhibitions at venues such as Galerie Martin Van Blerk, Galerij Artisjok, and De Witte Merel. Although he may appear as a classically trained painter, Walter remains largely a self-taught artist, having focused much of his career in advertising and communications. 

The paintings are clean, crisp, which capture detail and forms of light. Walter’s art gives off a unique vibe and cross between aesthetics of the 1940’s and the tastes of 1980’s New Wave. One such example would be Shelter Me (top of article) which portrays what seems to be a retro subway station with formally dressed figures appearing from the era of World War II. The male figure conducts an orthodox pose with his hat off and arms behind his back as he addresses a young female gazing off to the distance. Their black attire matches the tiled surroundings with a triangular composition due to the disproportionate height between the figures and position of limbs. While the figures may be from the mid-20th century, the setting looks straight out of the 1980’s with early postmodern elements of design and geometry.

Walter’s paintings may give off the feeling of the music of Depeche Mode. The band released a remix music video reinterpretation of the song Enjoy the Silence by Mike Shinoda made in 2004. The video and song contain similar aesthetic infusion between the modern and a postmodern palate. One could play the song in the background while viewing Walter’s work enjoying a retro experience of nostalgic flavor but with a fresh and enthusiastic fine art perspective. Even the beat of the song goes well with the work, as the guitar riffs and chorus accentuate the refinement of the relationship between figures and vast space. The lyrics of ‘enjoy the silence’ help explain the quiet intensity within Walter’s compositions. Even various remixes of Depeche Mode songs like Personal Jesus give off a similar vibe of a bridge between contemporary with retro elegance. 

Sometimes Walter’s most interesting paintings are his interiors. Although his figurative works offer a great relationship with space, there remains a poetic eeriness to the empty rooms portrayed. As we observe two paintings, Behind Closed Doors (pictured above) and Pool (pictured below), our senses arrive at acute awareness of vacantness. There remains an extraordinary focus of light in the center of the rooms, both seeping through windows on the left side of the paintings. The art leaves us to contemplate time and capacity, reflecting on our mortal existences away from nature. Remarkably painted with delicate brush strokes and a pleasant low contrast saturation, the viewer remains placed in cool tones of blues and whites in an almost monochromatic fashion. These poetic compositions help explain the purpose of contemporary image-making with refined application and study of position within empty space. 

Walter Dermul’s art offers a quiet, sophisticated refinement with delicate form, space, and reinterpretations of the passage of time. With subtle application and careful placement of figures within intervals which span rhythm and pattern, Walter dares the viewer to engage in a nostalgic realm. These tacit paintings remain an intensive fusion between the past and present.

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