| "Cool Cats"
four small panels oil on canvas on plywood h30 x w20cm,
A series of mini portraits, and in contrast with the elderly people in the
four preceding paintings this time portraits of young men wearing
baseballcaps that are omnipresent nowadays. In fact they are hardly
portraits, because their personalities are hardly visible because of the
caps. These young people could be anyone's sons really. Whereas I am
showing the painting material openly by not hiding the plywood behind a
frame, I am hiding the eyes of those portrayed behind their caps. People
feel strong and "cool", looking from behind sunglasses or beneath a cap, so
that nobody can look them in the eye. Moreover, the origin of the caps make
them symbols of sportsmanship and dynamism, and US commerce has elevated
them to desirable fashion items on which sports brands and all sorts of
companies advertise their logos. Very cool indeed. I have left these logos
out, in order not to draw attention to a brand but rather to the human
being and his conditioned group behaviour. Previously it was only elderly
American tourists that you could spot wearing baseball caps here, but
nowadays the one article of clothing that shouts "I am young and cool" is
that same baseball cap.
| "The Drinker"
oil on hardboard h87 x w71cm,
Anyone can easily recognize something in the theme of this painting, but
also have a look at the way the theme is conveyed. Various perspectives and
painting methods are put side by side to suggest the sort of topsy-turvy
effect you may have after having had a bit too much to drink. Everything is
held together by a light-blue background that suggests a table top. This
has been made by first colour washing the hardboard panel with a lot of
white spirit and a bit of light blue paint, and then by spraying darker
blue paint from a can straight through an embroidered tablecloth. Hence the
pattern. On top of this there are three bottles leaning towards the upper
right corner in a twisted perspective, connected to each other by shadows,
painted in a photo-realistic style. In the lower half of the painting
somebody is dosing, painted in rougher brushstrokes and chopped up into
three disconnected pieces. We are looking through him and see the emptiness
beyond. The emptiness of his existence can be filled temporarily by
bottles, but once these are empty too, what then? Then we'll just take a
nap and wait until the bar reopens...
By the way, there is headgear again in this painting. After the caps of the "Cool Cats" now a Mexican straw hat. Look back in the gallery and discover that headgear has appeared regularly from the first painting "You Have a Point" onwards.
| "Do I See a Nude?"
oil on canvas h64 x w84cm,
In "Self-portrait No.1" and
"Self-portrait No.2" I portrayed
myself in vertical drapes and with patches and irregular lines. This time I
am a collection of surfaces. And right through me or behind me lies a naked
woman. I have painted similarly intertwined figures before in
"Ghostly Figures", and in this painting
too background and foreground are not clearly separated. Looking at this
construction you can think of a reflection of my face in a window. Or you
can think of a dream image of a woman that is more clearly defined than the
fragmented face of the dreamer. But who the hell is that woman? I am
certainly not dreaming of my own wife here. Oh dear. What do we make of
oil on cardboard on hardboard h80 x w87cm,
Nothing more or less than just a gigantic portrait painted after a
photograph of an Amsterdam tramp who had just died. I projected the
photograph onto the cardboard with an episcope and filled it in afterwards.
I considered such a striking face of an undoubtedly colourful person strong
enough to leave as it was without wanting to add a story of my own to it.
For the first time I used no colours, or to be more exact only those
colours (ultramarine and burnt sienna) that yield beautiful black and grey
tones once mixed. And that's it. In this way I got a soberness and
simplicity that I found most fitting and grabbing here.
My fascination for weathered faces is nothing new. Look back at e.g. "Jigsaw Head" from 1998, which by the way has nothing to do with this portrait at all.
| "Face in Rectangle"
oil on paper h52 x w76cm,
The classical division of a painting in terms of depth is in three parts:
there is a background, a bit in the middle and a foreground. Here you see
this in a cool, smooth background that's hardly present, and on top of this
a contrasting, rough and warm-coloured middle section. And on top of this
rectangle there is an obtrusive, attention-grabbing image: a face. This face
is painted in the cool background colours, so that background and foreground
are linked. The various highlight and shadow areas are strictly separated.
| "Ascot Gentlemen"
oil on canvas h64 x w84,
This canvas has been inspired by a photograph, most probably of a funeral.
However, I did not want to make it a sad affair, hence the choice of colours.
Perhaps it is less about the past (the high hats) than about the future
(the mobile phone). And if you imagine this scene at a posh horse race, at
which two gentlemen have a chat during a stroll and one of them checks the
news on the stock rates, the image becomes totally different. The ravens of
the funeral have then disappeared. But remember that past developments are no
guarantee for the future...
| "Nude with Folded Arms"
oil on MDF-board h68 x w61cm,
The design comes from a photograph of a statue of a female nude, and I
have further stylised it to shape it into a good plastic form. For the
colours I have put layer upon layer and have left each to dry, so that
the individual shades have not been mixed but could "sparkle" next to
each other for those who want to take a closer look. By accident I
discovered that the painting is a lot more erotic than planned. Just
look at the painting sideways (never mind which side is up) and have a
look at the right arm. Once you have seen this form, you will look at
the painting in a different way, also when it hangs as it should. But
don't tell anyone, it's our secret.
| "Nude with Face on Knee"
oil on canvas h64 x w84cm,
Again a female nude. This time I have used the age-old screen technique
to get all proportions absolutely right. I selected a photograph and
superimposed a grid of squares of 1 by 1 cm. Then I copied this grid
with charcoal onto the canvas, but with enlarged squares of 4 by 4 cm,
and I drew the image, carefully comparing the coordinates. Next I sprayed
the charcoal with fixative and started to fill in the female figure with
paint, first a warm earthy tone and on top of this a cooler colour. The
combination provides a tranquil and monumental atmosphere to the image.
Top 2000 2002