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 week ‘Sfeer III’, mixed media on canvas, 71 cm wide x 101 cm high, 2009, by Wilgo Vijfhoven.
Most of the time the canvases of Wilgo Vijfhoven (Paramaribo, 1964) are occupied by female figures. Or should I say: claimed by? Figuratively, but depicted in a haze, in colors that transition from yellow, to orange, to red. That haze represents the mystery that surrounds women. The admiration, it seems, is in the greedy way in which he often puts the woman onto his canvas in paint. This suggests that the physical aspect is of great importance. But he deniesthat. His admiration stems mainly from the way in which women deal with stress and from how they manage to stay strong when they are abandoned for example. The strong woman, more than the beautiful woman.
This work – ‘Sfeer III’ from 2009 – is different in more than one way and thus special. It has no subject, but wants only to express an atmosphere. A poetic atmosphere, allowing space for a personal story and personal interpretation.
The familiar colors have made way for cooler variations. Although Vijfhoven may still have used paint – watercolor and no longer oil – this work is for the most part a collage. On top of a transparent layer of paint, he has glued pieces of paper. From various sources. Sometimes crumpled or creased, sometimes a bit neater, but never tidy. Those pieces of paper loose a great deal of their identity due to the layers of paint that have been painted over them. Result: a fan-like composition, but at the same time a powerful image despite the fragile and everyday materials from which it is constructed. A work that shares the mysterious quality of his paintings, but that emphatically refuses to have any content. It is not exaggerated to call it a visual definition of ‘atmosphere’.
After the Nola Hatterman Art Academy Wilgo Vijfhoven continued his studies at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica. There he learned that you have more options as an artist, when you let go of realism and exchange the local for the universal.
This work is most convincing proof thereof.
TEXT Rob Perrée, Amsterdam, July 2014
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2014
Want to see this and other work of Wilgo Vijfhoven ‘up close and personal’? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Maagdenstraat 44-upstairs, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about Wilgo Vijfhoven please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/wilgovijfhoven.
This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on July 16, 2014 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on July 16, 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.