A few weeks ago, as a sort of trailer for this post, I published a single drawing I had made of the school where I work. Now the full set……
I have worked at Maasland College in Oss, the Netherlands for more than twenty years. I teach, I paint in my own studio at home, I draw when I travel, and yet in all that time I have never made a drawing of my workplace. Time for a change! A few months ago I started with a first drawing. Happy with the result, I continued. It then became a series of nine drawings of different corners of the school, based on photographs I took early on winter mornings when it was dark outside and the corridors were empty, almost, you could say, a kind of Night School.
The school community will be able to see the exhibition firsthand, everyone else will hopefully enjoy the digital version here.
They are a little different to the images that I normally make, but certainly form a good set. You can find these drawings and other series of my studio work at my recently renovated website:
I draw quite a bit. Whenever I travel one of my drawing books travels with me. In my studio work I plan and prepare using drawings (on paper or digitally) to plot the way ahead. Yet in we’ll over twenty years working in education I have never turned my attention towards my working environment in the form of drawing it.
A while back I decided it might be an interesting challenge to pick up, and so a series of drawings began. I’m still working on the series. I don’t think they are ever going to become more than a series of drawings; I’m not expecting to take them into a series of paintings. But they are starting to become something of a ‘complete set’ in my view.
In many ways they are fairly detached from the paintings I make. Although they do share a certain geometric quality. The architecture of the buildings l work in have plenty of interesting angles and lines. Maybe that’s what kept me interested while I have been drawing.
A full display of the series, online, and quite possibly within the school is likely to follow quite soon, but while I’m finishing things off, let me put this first on of the series out there as a taster
The biggest exhibition of Johannes Vermeer’s paintings ever opens this week at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Twenty-eight pieces are being brought in from all over the world to present the most complete retrospective of the Dutchman’s work ever. Like many others, I already have my tickets to visit the Rijksmuseum in early March.
For me though, this is more than just a chance to submerge myself in the quiet, stillness of the artist’s views of seventeenth century domesticity. It is a chance to revisit the art that I was making when I first moved to the Netherlands. At the time, Vermeer’s work was hugely important to me, and I was engaged with a visual and conceptual exploration of these icons of art history.
I was exploring the nature of the art object, the painting as it is found in the museum, the role of the reproduction of images in our experience of art and indeed the place that the re-presentation of art has in Vermeer’s work itself.
I made paintings, drawings, collages, constructions and even installation work. It was, for me, a rich vein of work that seems on reflection a strangely perfectly fitting body of work for my own arrival in the country.
So, in the light of all the fanfare around the Rijksmuseum exhibition, my own modest online Vermeer display. A small collection here. A more extensive collection on my other site that can be found here: Vermeer series