A mixed bag of various things
April 25, 2007 Wednesday
Arno Kramer, Tjibbe
Hooghiemstra and Rineke Marsman, paintings and drawings. Cavanacor Gallery,
"….OVER THE YEARS, DUTCH artists Arno Kramer and Tjibbe Hooghiemstra
have built up a significant presence in Ireland, not merely on the basis
of sending pieces over for exhibition but in terms of coming here and
working. Each has clearly taken to the place to an exceptional degree,
the place being generally the western seaboard and the inland regions
directly adjacent to it. This is not to say that they have responded
in the stock way to the stock attractions; you're not going to find
formulaic views of spectacular scenery in anything they do.
They are not directly affiliated and their artistic personalities are
quite distinctive, yet they do have a certain amount in common, so the
idea of their exhibiting together at the Cavanacor makes sense and,
as it happens, the inclusion of Rineke Marsman is also appropriate.
Both Kramer and Hooghiemstra tend to work primarily in drawing and watercolour,
both have a strong interest in poetry, and artistically they share a
reflective, introspective quality. Hence their avoidance of the obvious
when it comes to the west of Ireland. They prefer quiet, unnoticed backwaters
to tourist haunts, places tinged with melancholy and neglect, but by
no means simply sad.
Hooghiemstra prefers to work on paper that already has a history, such
as sheets from old ledgers (he has been taken to task by some for dismantling
such volumes). This can be viewed as a counterpart to his desire to
absorb the history and mood of a place, to visualise a scene in terms
of memories and narratives, always glimpsed obliquely, in fragments
and perhaps hypothetically. He is not being vague for the sake of it.
The point is not to curtail the possibilities, to allow imaginative
space for us, the viewers.
Much the same sentiments can be discerned in Kramer's work, though it
differs in method and appearance. He often counterpoints passages of
very accurate representational drawing with more abstract elements,
the latter characterised by repetition and uniformity, as in a honeycomb
or some other grid construction. The representational motifs recur:
human figures, swans, hares, and dresses have all featured. Often his
finished pieces are layered in such a way that it's impossible to grasp
any single image on one viewing, and you have to acclimatise yourself
and wait for the various elements to disentangle themselves and become
As for their work being melancholy but not sad, while it carries implications
of loss as part of the package, it is actually positive overall, evoking
a state of dreamy meditation in which past, present and longing are
offered for contemplation.
ON THE FACE OF it, Rineke Marsman's work has a more specific historical
agenda. Ghostly faces regard us from her canvases, veiled by thin glazes
of pigment. They seem to be fading away, drifting into the past, and
indeed her original inspiration for the work was a set of photographs
of Jewish children deported during the second World War. Her project
since has widened to incorporate people who disappear in more general
contexts, and also the idea of the disappearance of who we once were.
It is in all a beautifully balanced, quietly persuasive exhibition…."
Copyright 2007 The