In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed an 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 he talks about ‘Bamboe’ [Bamboo], acrylics on canvas, 75 cm wide x 139 cm high, 2012, by Wilgo Vijfhoven.
In recent years women have been the most important theme of Wilgo Vijfhoven (Paramaribo, 1964). This comes from a genuine admiration. He is impressed with their strength and with the way in which they deal with personal problems such as loneliness and being abandoned. His paintings also indicate clearly however, that the physical beauty of women does not at all elude him.
From this fairly large work that bears the sober title ‘Bamboe’ [Bamboo] (2012), it is clear that for Vijfhoven beauty goes beyond that of women only. He is impressed by the beauty of nature in general. In this specific example, of the bamboo plant.
The painting appears to be a simple portrayal of the reality, but that is not what it is. The artist has searched for ways to emphasize the beauty. In the first place he chooses to paint the image of a detail. In doing so he forces the viewer to take a better look. Aside from that he also wants to convey a certain atmosphere, an almost poetic atmosphere. That is why he puts a yellow haze over the work. And finally he chooses to add, to the painting that is executed in only a few colors, some minimal accents in red to thus draw attention to it. A young robin on a branch and several bamboo leaves that have turned red. The little bird even gets an extra treatment. The white spot places it in the limelight. Here Vijfhoven manipulates reality, seduces the viewer, in order to reach his goal.
This painting has a sibling, ‘Bamboe II’ [Bamboo II], which is done on an even more elongated canvas. That confirms that Vijfhoven has used the shape of his work to strengthen his subject.
The painting of nature is a classic genre in art history. Landscapes were often used to give religious themes a framework or to depict romantic life concepts. The attention for nature was often an excuse for something else. It looks as though Vijfhoven goes for nature without ulterior motives.
TEXT Rob Perrée, Amsterdam, March 2015
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2015
Want to see this and other work of Wilgo Vijfhoven ‘up close and personal’? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Steenbakkerijstraat 30, 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 April 8, 2015 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on April 8, 2015.
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.