The Enigmatic Paintings of Dutch Artist in Residence Marit Dik

June 18, 2009 at 8:26 am Leave a comment

Painter Marit Dik is one of 10 artists from the Netherlands visiting Ulster County this year in commemoration of the region’s centuries-old exchange with Holland. She will be showing her large acrylics at the Art Upstairs gallery in Phoenicia as well as at SUNY-Ulster in September. Dik, who prior to becoming a painter was trained as a psychologist,  has shown her work in galleries throughout northern Europe. She paints representational but enigmatic scenes that scintillate with light. Below are excerpts from a recent critique of her work by American writer Donna Wolf:
“The landscape paintings of Marit Dik immediately transport the viewer to a serene setting far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Drawing inspiration from nature and familiar everyday settings, children often populate her large, abstract yet figurative paintings on canvas. Her work depicts scenes with a splendid tranquil atmosphere while simultaneously capturing a brief, fleeting moment…
“Dik achieves this quasi-idyllic quality through her choice of subject matter as well as through her abstract figurative style of painting. In the series of paintings completed in 2006 and 2007, she explores narratives and scenes of children relaxing, playing… just being in the outdoors…The children in her work can be seen as a metaphor for innocence…Their presence imparts the works with an air of harmonious nonchalance, yet [there is a] mounting tension of their pending adulthood in the not too distant future…

“Using thinly applied acrylic paint on canvas, she captures a melodious struggle between paint and light. Like expressionistic painters in the past, such as Cezanne, she avoids strong lines, choosing instead to carve forms through the juxtaposition of patches of paint…A gentle flowing pulse seems to ripple across the canvas…The use of paint as light also enhances the fleeting aspect of the actions…of the figures. The large scale of the paintings in combination with the open, close-up angle she provides the viewer allow us to penetrate the setting without disturbing its carefully constructed harmony.  Creating a partition in the dense forest gives us just enough light to observe the scene without becoming a trespasser.

“… the abstract landscape settings that form the background take on a life of their own in her series of trees and flowers. Using abstract painting techniques, she draws our attention to specific details of a flower or tree without attempting to depict them realistically. She paints in just enough detail to whet the viewer’s appetite and give an impression of the moment and setting…She is not merely interested in a realistic rendition of a situation, instead she is interested in the atmosphere, the feeling, the emotion…you can almost feel the unspoken  tension and potential of the scene.

“The painting technique in the body of work produced in 2009 during a residency at ArToll, Germany, resembles camouflage material; her brushstrokes and color patches subtly hint at the presence of small animals. She maintains a sense of intimacy by adapting her work to a smaller scale…Here we become acquainted with her impression of the forest, which is both powerful and majestic. It is therefore not surprising that she has entitled this series Jagd und Liebe, Hunting and Love.”


Entry filed under: Arts, International. Tags: , .

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