Thursday, October 16, 2014
notre dame des anges with folded hands (own work, 2014, 55 x 80 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)
see the previous post: i'm simply working very hard to get things to work... which for now seems to imply that i'm hardly involved on a conscious/verbal level, so i can't really add much to the picture itself. endless reworking, adding of extraneous materials etc., to achieve a certain expression. once again, a photograph hardly does justice to the real thing.
[repeated from previous posts: the woman portraits made in this series share the name `notre dame des anges´. this is a reference to the `medieval´ spirituality i mentioned above. but the portraits are of course not a depiction of maria. they are intended as portraits of contemporary women emanating this type of spirituality which i find hard to describe.
in this series i experiment with all sorts of visual elements. you can see that i do not shy away from outsider-like techniques. at the same time, i'm also studying the human form and face, as a means of expressing spirituality, vulnerability, openness, unarmedness etc.]
Monday, October 7, 2013
our lady of the stars and the planets (own work, 1986-2014, 50 x 57 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)
i started this painting somewhere in 1986, when i just started out with acrylics. i was forced to start using acrylics since i had developed a serious allergy against all oil-based paints and their associated fumes already then. this in turn was largely due to my non-stop painting which for years took part in the same room where i slept (me being a poor student).
the painting was a complete experiment, in materials as well as form, and it didn't work out satisfactorily. but the result was intriguing and hung on my wall for well over a year until i finally gave up on trying to improve it. its merits were a certain freedom of expression, but its limitations were severe and i didn't have a clue how to proceed. i always kept it, hoping to one day find inspiration for a reworking.
this reworking took place the last few weeks. once again i had to cross certain unknown lands to get here. i decided to clarify some facial structures, and to simplify the background. then, using some painted cardboard parts that i had removed from the painting earlier, i cut out some stars. used palettes i tried in many combinations, to create planets. and i added seashells to our lady's clothing. i collected those shells last year, during endless walks by the seaside between st. maartenszee and bergen. (i will come back to those shells in a future post, but let me say already here that i picked just one sort, because i thought it would work very well in paintings. the surface of these shells is simply amazing.) of course, planets, stars and seashells refer to the traditional role of maria as stella maris (star of the sea), a guiding light for seafarers.
as in almost all my works, i find a great difficulty in achieving `the' fitting expression. most often it needs to be a mixture between some (soft) sadness, some contemplation, some compassion and some (small) smile as well. [postscript 2014: changed the expression once again, and added some hair elements...to make the painting more unambiguously uplifting]
the religious connotation is largely the same as in the `notre dame des anges' series, but i wanted some surprise and childlike qualities in the painting. i'm not sure how well i have achieved these qualities, but i do have a strong sense that it is finished now, and should be taken as it is, with all its history and possible shortcomings. [and it probably has a strong `outsider art' feeling for many viewers. i have decided to not hold back this side of my art, especially when restoring/finishing older work].
filippo lippi, madonna and child (mid 15th century)
filippo lippi was the teacher of sandro botticelli, his influence on his pupil is clear to see. the star on maria in the above painting refers to her role as stella maris.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
the theme of outsiderness keeps intriguing me [you can click on the label "outsiderness" below this post to see other posts on this theme].
self-portrait in outsider forest (own work, 2012-2013, 21 x 21 cm, digital, click on the image for an enlargement)
i'm experimenting, in many ways. the combination of photoshop with `ordinary' drawing fascinates me, but seldom leaves me satisfied. but things are progressing, slowly. i'm extremely hampered by rsi (repetitive strain injury), which has been plaguing me for the past 12 years. the reason also why my blogging activity is limited.
night encounter (ongoing own work, 2007-2012, 21 x 22 cm, digital, click on the image for an enlargement)
finally then, i designed another record sleeve for my friend and fellow artist ralf kwaaknijd, who is also an active musician.
ralfk goes astral (2012, 35 x 35cm, digital, click on the image for an enlargement)
Sunday, December 2, 2012
self-portrait exploring new worlds (own work, 1987-2012, 45 x 30 cm, click on the image for an enlargement)
[also see the previous post] technical, emotional and psychological experimenting, trying to get to the essence. this work i started when i was in art school (art academy utrecht). almost needless to say, my teachers often didn't quite get what i was driving at, although they thought my work of high quality.
for them, any work i made was to be seen as an exercise, something to repeat at least 10 times, so that they could comment on every stage, and understand where it came from and was headed. for me, i was doing what the title suggests, and for me this is not served by studious repetition.
therefore i still have unfinished works from that period, works that i spent quite some time and effort on then, but was unable to bring to any satisfactory conclusion. in the past 10 years, i've been finishing a number of these `old' works, since nowadays my direction is clearer and my skills have improved.
this also reflects on how i see an artist's development: there is progress, but early periods have their own psychological merit and need not be discarded for lack of skills. on a different scale, i feel the same way about (art) history in general. modern art is all very fine, but... again like i wrote a few posts ago, perhaps george steiner was right in saying that our civilization is past its prime [in a 1989 dutch television series `nauwgezet en wanhopig']
steiner illustrated this feeling with comments about picasso, saying that picasso in essence only commented on the great masters of the past. so let's take a look once more at picasso's inspiration sources. perhaps i mentioned african art earlier on this blog?:
but did i mention its influence on les demoiselles d'avignon, the famous painting that picasso worked feverishly on for months, with hundreds of prepatory sketches? (and which he would not show)
pablo picasso, les demoiselles d'avignon
but one also discerns the catalan-romanic art influences from medieval times.
another major inspiration for les demoiselles d'avignon was the following masterpiece of el greco:
el greco, the opening of the fifth seal of the apocalypse
a painting which could have been painted yesterday as far as modernity and experiment goes, but which stems from the beginning of the 17th century, in the last years of el greco's life.
Friday, April 4, 2008
as an example of modern art issues in relation to communication, i give what i came across just now: the experimental art foundation.
The Experimental Art Foundation was established in 1974 as an initiative by Adelaide artists and theorists to encourage new approaches to the visual arts, promoting the idea of art as 'radical and only incidentally aesthetic'.
The EAF's current MISSION STATEMENT is:
To assist, promote and develop, through production, exhibition, distribution and the encouragement of debate, art and art practices that are analytical, critical and experimental, which challenge established thinking and expand cultural languages and discussion.
The EAF's current OBJECTIVES are
To actively assist, develop and promote new and investigative art practices; To promote discussion, understanding and appreciation of contemporary arts issues and to provide a forum for critical debate; To encourage and support the production and the exchange of ideas by South Australian, Australian and International artists through production, exhibition and dissemination; To respond to artists and arts community initiatives; To develop new and informed audiences through advocacy, education and information strategies; To support emerging artists; To foster strategic partnerships; To maintain a high profile city location; To practise access and equity principles; To maintain sound financial and organisational management
behold above one of the reasons that i consider myself to be a very old-fashioned artist. i don't think of art as radical and only incidentally aesthetic, i don't see art's primacy/duty/charge to lie in societal communication of `new' ideas. new newer newest: the world of advertising and fashion is encroaching on the world of art, if one can even tell a fundamental difference at all.
to me a lot of modern visual art becomes entertainment / performance / advertisement / fashion. however, who am i to say that this is an unwanted development? i can only state how art `works' for me: strongly when quiet. when universal themes (humanity, nature, (non)beauty, patterns, life, death) are explored in a profound way, which can be as varied as light itself.
still, i think the experimental art foundation is a good thing. and probably a lot of things coming about from its endeavors i will consider quite interesting and worthwile. it's just not really my way of communicating, like i said i feel more traditionalist by simply painting, drawing, sculpture.
shelter from the storm, 2008
suddenly i turned around and she was standing there / with silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair/ she walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns/ come in she said i'll give you...shelter from the storm from bob dylan: shelter from the storm