ABOUT ME

Artist statement

BIOGRAPHY

Artist Statement

 

I draw and I sculpt in a variety of media. I see art as a means of communication and therefore my artistic expression changes with the nature of the conversation.

A recurring theme in my work is the dominance of human beings and their interaction with and impact on the environment. My drawings are usually centered around the human form, whereas my sculptures often depict other species or structures occurring in nature. When dealing with autobiographical content I explore the effect of my own environment, history and life events on shaping the multi-faceted mosaic that is me. In that respect, my self-portraits and sculptures are extensions of one another.

 

My ceramics are predominantly non-functional, due to a strong dislike of time spent in the kitchen.

I draw mainly with pen and ink on board. This unforgiving medium provides strong contrasts, fitting the always confrontational subject matter.

The series 'The nature of the beast' (2008-2010) consists of 24 'think-drawings' in black and white, depicting the political, environmental and economic consequences of human dominance through a language of symbols.

In the autobiographical series 'Renaissance' (2013-) this symbolized language sets the background and is further concentrated in the head of the figure, whereas the body shows a mosaic of colour revealing my mood in a given setting.

 

My ceramics (since 2009) are predominantly non-functional, due to a strong dislike of time spent in the kitchen. Instead they comprise sculptural life forms, showing the beauty of biological structures both on a macroscopic and microscopic level, and 'dysfunctional' ware; plates, bowls and vessels for decorative use only.

My ceramic life forms reflect the fragility of our ecosystem and the struggle for survival. They are hand-built to obtain their organic appearance, and in form, texture and colour capture a sense of life that might spark conservation efforts for the non-human life forms on our planet.

My 'dysfunctional' ware displays the same lively content: texture, pattern and runny glaze concoctions inspired by biological and geological phenomena, or as in my 'psychoceramics' by my own state of mind.

 

Since 2009, under guidance of the late Jim Thomson, I have developed a deep passion for ceramic sculpture. The possibilities in clay are endless; I can shape it, I can use it as a canvas, I can carve it, print on it and the high temperature chemistry together with self-made glaze concoctions rekindle the scientist in me. This is why I have chosen ceramic sculpture as my main discipline. But when the kiln is on, I draw my heart out.

 

Biography

 

I was born in Belgium (St-Truiden, 1961) and became a Dutch citizen (1982) until I made the best decision in my life and obtained Canadian citizenship in 2015.

 

Having a background in science (PhD biology, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1993) art was not on the radar till 1999, when I started carving stone as a hobby. While mainly self-taught, I attended a few stone sculpting workshops with Thea de Waard in the Netherlands. Once settled in Canada art became a life-saver. I first enrolled in ‘Figure Drawing and Painting’ with Pamela Cockcroft-Lasserre (2007-2009) and later in ‘Ceramic Sculpture’ with Jim Thomson (2009-2011) at the Ottawa School of Art. Intrigued by the wonderful possibilities of the human figure I founded Figureworks.org, a not-for-profit organisation promoting visual art of the human form in all media (April 2010): As the President of this organization (2010-2016) I organized 7 juried award shows in Ottawa, which now attract professional artists from Canada and abroad. Today I am still functioning as the curator of Figureworks.

 

It was the late Jim Thomson who infected me with the clay bug, for which there is no cure.

As a visual artist I have chosen ceramic sculpture, with an emphasis on ceramic installations, as my main discipline; for me, art is a conversation and my artistic expression changes with the topic of that conversation. Since 2012 I work as a full-time artist in my home studio and became a finalist of the RBC/CAO emerging artist award in the same year. In 2016 I became an active member of the Ottawa Guild of Potters, as its secretary and designer of ‘Populace’, a large outdoor art installation in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.

 

My work has been shown in both solo- and (juried) group exhibits, including the New York Art Expo and the Canadian Gallery of Clay and Glass in Waterloo, Ontario. My work is in private collections in Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Canada, as well as in the collection of Global Affairs Canada; ‘The Bark Archive’ is on permanent display at the Canadian Embassy in Brussels, Belgium.

 

For a closer look at what I've achieved during my career as an artist, click below to view my C.V.

VIEW MY C.V.

All artwork is subject to and protected by  copyright