In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed a new, informative initiative: An Eye for Art. Once every two weeks Rob Perrée discusses a work of art from the collection of Readytex Art Gallery. This time the untitled art work from the exhibition New Impressions, watercolor on paper, 48 cm wide x 68 cm high, 2007, by Humphrey Tawjoeram.
Humphrey Tawjoeram (1964, Redi Doti, Para, Suriname) calls himself an emotional painter. In fact he doesn’t like to make sketches before he starts with a painting or a watercolor. He prefers to just let whatever comes, come. That does not mean however that he doesn’t allow himself to be inspired. The everyday surroundings, especially nature, are things that he soaks up explicitly. Those are then translated into his work.
That translation is usually abstract. That is quite noticeable in this work, a watercolor from 2007. They are in fact organic shapes, but they don’t portray anything other than just themselves. They can be interpreted as natural shapes, as shapes that resemble plants or other ‘growths’ from nature. Tawjoeram aims to keep that as open as possible. Where he is concerned, viewers may interpret it however they like.
To him they are compositions, compositions that usually work from the middle towards the edges of the surface. Just like a knot that is being untied. His colors are subdued, but I am under the impression that he chooses to do so consciously in order to allow the few accents that he does add, the few more pronounced color planes that he does include, to stand out better.
Occasionally, like a few years ago for example, it seems as though a bit more figuration sneaks into his work. Those are the times when he is wondering ‘what’s next’. The great thing about it is that he then consults his cultural background. And then it becomes noticeable that he belongs to the original inhabitants of Suriname. The Arawaks. He then needs those special roots to find a way out of a bogged down creative process. His ancestors and the rituals and customs associated with them, provide the incentive to do so.
His watercolors in particular, remind me of the work by Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986), the American painter who found inspiration in the landscape of New Mexico. Comparable use of color, sensual, organic shapes that remain somewhere in between the abstract and the figurative, and an inexhaustible love of nature.
TEXT Rob Perrée, Amsterdam, May 2014
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2014
Want to take a closer, personal look at this work? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Maagdenstraat 44-upstairs, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about Humphrey Tawjoeram please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/humphreytawjoeram.
This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on May 21, 2014 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on May 21, 2014.
Because really looking at art and understanding art are not always obvious and easy to do, we hope that these regular reviews will at least offer you some insight into the process. You will get to see how a connoisseur looks at art, discusses it, and then links the work to others within the international art world.
Of course you can only truly judge a work of art when you are actually standing in front of it yourself. We therefore hope to see you soon in Readytex Art Gallery and are eager to hear what you think of this artwork, and which other works of art you find yourself drawn to. Please note that the artworks discussed are still available for purchase at the time that the review is published.
Rob Perrée is art historian and works as freelance writer, art critic and curator, specialized in contemporary (Afro-) American art, African art, Surinamese art and art using new media. His work has appeared in countless catalogues, books, magazines and newspapers. He is editor of Sranan Art Xposed, editor in chief of Africanah.org and a member of the editing team of Pf Photo Magazine. His website: http://robperree.com.