Artist Statement:

I'm a painter of Dutch origin who has been living and working in Norway since 2008. Solidly trained as a painter at the Art Academy in Enschede my work has developed in a steady and consequent direction since finishing my Master in 1997. In the course of my career I've received a prize for young painters and been granted several scholarships from the Dutch Art Council. This has made possible a continuous focus on the development of my work.

My work has now reached the 'adult' phase where form and content have merged. After years of developing the different aspects of my work, it was in 2013 that I created the work REALosaka
( image 1. in the application). It was the confluence of content and painting styles that has made this work a key-work in my oeuvre.

Geometrical abstraction, text and realism, once different periods in my long development, came together in one work. The introduction of an underlying narrative and the use of different painting styles and enhancing this by use of different paints made this work what I call My First Work. All that I had done before now made sense.

It is in paint that I communicate my ideas. The combination of sensitive oil-painting for the realistic parts of the painting and the hard-edge acrylic-paint and metallic paint tells my story of different layers and viewpoints; how we combine contradictory perceptions and a fragmented here and now into one, in short: modern life.

The theme of my work basically revolves around home and somewhere else. Said in another way the place where I am, Norway and the place I can imagine I am, Somewhere else. Reality and imagination. Physical and mind traveling is what motivates the work. At the same time it creates a vision of the world we live in, how we move in it and how it moves me. The viewpoint is critical, observing and emotional. The form, a firm belief in painting as a relevant and timeless medium of creating a vision of 21st century life. 

Reflections on REALosaka

When I think about Wim’s photo REALosaka I first of all think about space. The space that things that are real occupy, how they stretch out, and offer themselves to our senses by means of color, smell, sound, and tactile experiences. The painting is material, and occupies space; it is space, it is a space where thoughts can dwell and dreams are fed. The richness of color is what first meets the eye, and the fact that there are letters; a word, furthermore, that this word embeds something that is surprising, even disturbing to the senses but also comforting if it is given time. A city. Osaka. It is something remote, far away from where I am, close to the North Pole. It is a city that seems foreign, exotic, yet very familiar with its tall buildings, its city lights, and construction sites. The letters, the city-in-the-word, and the abstract fields between them divide the space of the painting into several spaces that shift positions – background and foreground, figure and ground. What is figure and what is ground? The city, or the word, or the abstract forms? It is a question that cannot be answered, because it depends on the position you are in when you look: close or distant. This interchangeability creates a fruitful tension and an excitement that does not leave you and thus, the painting becomes a space within the onlooker, within me, and stays there.

Space is also in the painting, as a perspective. This gigantic city, a world metropolis that reaches out forever it seems, and still, there is a heaven above, and this tiny star, that is more eternal than the city below. The city seems, in its pieces, because it is pieces, broken by the abstract spaces, where the mind has to imagine that the city exists also beneath the abstracts (and vice versa!), this city seems like something from the outer space, a futuristic place, something from or for the future. It could be in spatial orbit, for all I know, had it not been for its contemporary name that makes it real. So it’s here, connected to a real city, but captured at a specific moment, forever in construction, forever with the same star above, a moment in time. Imagined future and real contemporaneousness – or imagined contemporaneousness and real future. Space is playing with time and space and time is playing with what is real and senses play with thoughts. Thus, the painting is not only something one looks at – it is a living, absorbing, evoking, present entity which simultaneously represents an opening to another world.

But future is not only futuristic architecture and design. World cities may not be the future. They are also tons of garbage, filth, pollution. That is the pessimistic vision that very well may be or become real: a city that destroys itself. But cities are also innovation, constructions, technology, and thus there is optimism that also may be real: a city that re-invents itself by the flow of time. Both cannot be true at the same time. But there might be a dynamic pulse between the two, the city pulse, where the abstract fields of the painting, with their optimistic pastel colors, formed like computational chips so appropriate for the chosen city, may represent a communicative bridge between the past, the present, and the future.

Author: Vigdis Stokker Jensen, PhD-fellow/Lecturer, University of Bergen, Norway