Schoutsen is a photographer by heart experimenting with the boundaries of the photographic medium. The photo is her source material that she manipulates by making use of printmaking techniques or by adding media. In her work she shapes an intimate link between recognisable imagery and ambiguous abstraction. She plays with the holding capacity of reality in photography and pushes it back into the realm of abstract metaphors. It makes her work concrete and metaphorical at the same time aiming for waves of meaning where the viewers have the right to make up their own minds.
Schoutsen’s pragmatic insistence on particular realities makes that she never adopts a standpoint in her work. Her work expresses strong feelings without locking you down to one narrow story. Her work is about rhythm. The rhythms of observation is where it lives. Schoutsen believes that art is about observing. It’s not about whom is observing. It’s about the process of observation. There is no point of getting philosophical about it, it’s all about experience and the act of looking. What we see and experience is made up of association of memory and reference to metaphor. The power of the works lies with the very tension that arises between documentation and suggestion.
In order to bring in that tension between documentation and suggestion and to stimulate reference and association, Schoutsen kicks off her work with realistic imagery accommodated by abstract photographic techniques such as blur, polarisation, dazzle and grain as mysterious phantoms. Her works gains a sense of materiality by using printmaking techniques such as photopolymer etching. By adding spray-paint, graphite and acrylic paint she stirs up a steady murmur of potential meaning.