Arjan van Arendonk Galerie Wilms

Arjan van Arendonk
The Benefits of Travelling #2 


In May 2015, while I was in the W2 complex on a long-planned working visit to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, I got a spontaneous invitation to visit Arjan van Arendonk’s studio, which I had never been to before. On arrival, I walked in to find the walls lined with many of his most recent works, inspired by a trip to South Africa. Visually and in terms of their composition they are significantly different from Arjan van Arendonk’s earlier work. On the beautiful summer day on which I found myself in his studio, his love of painting was literally and figuratively splashed all over the studio walls.

Without losing sight of the attention to quality and composition or the pictorial principles that inform his work, Arjan van Arendonk was inspired by his stay in South Africa to create exciting new works such as ‘Nobody Said It Would Be Easy’, ‘A Whiter Shade of Pearls’, ‘Escape From Reality’ and ‘Lost’. The main thing that struck me looking at his most recent work is that Arjan often almost entirely covers the printed fabric that he uses as his medium.

In ‘Nobody Said It Would Be Easy’ and ‘Lost’ this results in a remarkable, layered kind of tension, with rhythmic patterns in the half-obscured background shining through the subtle, semi-transparent layer of acrylic and silicone. This creates an exciting visual dialogue between the spotless, white surface layer and the mysterious, dark background layer.

Like the cherry on top of this fascinating, innovative cake, there are, analogous to the exotic butterflies in ‘Finally’ or ‘Survival of the Fittest’, embroidered or printed birds in contrasting colours. The work creates the illusionistic sense of these birds moving gracefully and purposefully at this curious interface of monochrome reality and polychrome mirage.

What’s also striking is that Arjan van Arendonk abruptly cuts off the figures in his compositions at the edges of the canvas, making the worlds that are depicted, rich with floral and insect life, seem as if cut out from a greater whole. Like a cameraman, he zooms in on the subject of his attention, scrutinising it in extreme close-up.

Every now and then, he alternates a relative frugality of style with a more baroque approach. Compare the near-monochrome ‘Lost’ with the rhythmic ‘Tropical Invaders’, or ‘Prelude dans les Orchidees’, ‘Survival of the Fittest’ or ‘Welcome to the Land of Milk and Honey’ works which are so full of energy they seem about to burst off the wall. Expressive trompe l’oeil flowers, birds and insects have been painted with great feeling on top of regular patterns of floral readymade print. In his latest work, Arjan van Arendonk creates an atypical, intriguing interaction between original and copy, between reality and illusion, between nature and culture, revealing a depth of philosophical sophistication. One can only hope that his future travels will give a similar creative impetus to his surprising body of work.

Rick Vercauteren, director Museum Van Bommel Van Dam

Arjan van Arendonk
1957 born in Waalwijk, NL
1977 -1982 Koninklijke Academie ‘s-Hertogenbosch

2017 Everead Read Gallery, Johannesburg solo
2016 PAN, Galerie Wilms, groep
2016 Nothing, if not beautiful… Museum v Bommel v Dam Venlo groep
2016 Paradise around the corner Galerie Wilms Venlo solo
2016 Floralia Gorkums Museum groep
2016 Welcome to the land….. Jan v Hoof Galerie solo
2016 Agaphantus gallery Kaapstad groeps
2015 PAN Jan v Hoof Galerie groeps
2015 Couleur Locale Jan van Hoof galerie groeps
2015 Knysna Fine Art gallery Knysna Zuid Afrika solo
2015 Grande Provence gallery Franschhoek Zuid Afrika solo
2014 PAN Amsterdam Jan van Hoof Galerie Groeps
2013 NNN3 mus.Bommelv Dam Venlo groeps
2013 Hortus Conclusus Jan van Hoof Galerie groeps
2012 Beurs Realisme 2012 Amsterdam groeps
2012 Jan van Hoof galerie ‘s-Hertogenbosch solo
2012 Nanjing Municipal Museum China groeps
2012 Museum Bommel van Dam Venlo groeps
2011 Art Amsterdam Jan van Hoof galerie groeps
2011 Noord-Brabants Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch solo
2011 Museum de Buitenplaats Eelde groeps
2011 Houses of Art Marbella Spanje solo
2010 Jan van Hoof galerie ‘s-Hertogenbosch solo
2010 Beurs Realisme 2010 Amsterdam groeps
2009 Jan van Hoof galerie ‘s-Hertogenbosch solo
2009 Museum Rijswijk Rijswijk groeps
2009 Galerie Ann’s Art Groningen solo
2008 Beurs Realisme 2008 Amsterdam groeps
2008 Jan van Hoof galerie ‘s-Hertogenbosch groeps
2006 Jan van Hoof galerie ’s-Hertogenbosch solo
2005 Museum Waterland Purmerend solo
2003 Jan van Hoof galerie ’s-Hertogenbosch solo
2002 Groninger Museum Groningen solo
2001 Galerie Witteveen Amsterdam solo
2001 VanderLeelie Gallery Edmonton Canada groeps
2000 Kunstpaviljoen Nieuw Roden solo
2000 Museum Jan Cunen Oss solo
1998 Museum Het Kruithuis ’s-Hertogenbosch solo
1999 Groninger Museum Groningen groeps
1996 Nederlands Textielmuseum Tilburg solo
1993 Noord-Brabants Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch solo
1993 Galerie Tanya Rumpff Haarlem groeps
1992 Museum Librije Zwolle solo
1991 Galerie van de Berg ’s-Hertogenbosch solo
1991 Galerie Waalkens Finsterwolde solo
1990 Tentoonstelling Kon. Subsidie winnaar publieksprijs groeps

Groninger Museum Noord Brabants Museum
Museum Het Kruithuis Den Bosch Museum Jan Cunen Oss
Nederlands Textielmuseum Tilburg Museum Bommel van Dam
ABN-AMRO Amsterdam Gemeente Amstelveen
Rabobank Groningen Gemeente Den Bosch
Rabobank Leek Van Lansschot Bankiers
Delta Lloyd Gas-Unie Groningen
Allianz PGGM
Ministerie van Buitenlandse zaken Dela
Diverse particuliere collecties in binnen- en buitenland

Gemeente Utrecht Gemeente Amsterdam ( vrije universiteit )
P&O serie schilderijen voor 2 schepen
Rabobank Raalte Provinciale Vuilverwerking Leeuwarden
Universiteit Groningen Hyatt Hotel Dusseldorf
Verkadefabriek ’s-Hertogenbosch

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Arjan van Arendonk