For the exhibition "Intense," artist Marcel Wesdorp invited three colleagues at the request of gallery owner Edwin Spek: Silvia B., Maria Ikonomopoulou and Mirjam Somers. All four are driven by an intense personal commitment that is expressed in a very personal, unique visual language. For example, this exhibition features Marcel Wesdorp's unrepeatable photographic landscapes, you'll encounter Silvia B's hybrid humanoid creatures, several mixed media artworks by Maria Ikonomopoulou, and pause at Mirjam Somers's strongly narrative video works in which animals play a central role.
Marcel Wesdorp creates landscapes with the aid of the computer. He shows us a virtual world as an alternative reality. Wesdorp determines the coordinates of this world himself; his landscapes exert an enormous attraction and continue to live on in the mind of the viewer. Even have a tendency to coincide with it. In addition, Wesdorp's work is a wonderful amalgam of reason and feeling. For him, the computer is not only his paint box, but also drawing paper, painter's canvas and camera lens, and actually it is much more than that. Wesdorp certainly does not use the ratio of the computer to represent that ratio itself, as a proof of what the ingenuity of contemporary man and himself is capable of. Of course, anyone who wants to account for how Wesdorp's works came to be cannot escape the technical details, the science, and the philosophy that interests and influences him immensely, but ultimately, as a viewer, you find yourself facing Wesdorp's photographic works alone and you may find yourself in them; and that is what he is really about.
The images of Silvia B. make their way through a web of existential contemporary dilemmas. They move along the borders of genders, ages, (sub)cultures and species. Her images seek to bridge the gap between cultivated reality and deeper intuitive and instinctive layers. Silvia B. seamlessly merges different entities into believable hybrid humanoid beings that silently invite us to join in the beauty and doubt they display. That range also speaks from her photographic works, drawings, exhibition concepts, interior designs and her glove line. She is currently working on the series Entanglement that attempts to reflect the impossible split of contemporary life. A series that simultaneously contemplates the celebration and the drama of human life in the Anthropocene. The images connect the fragility of the new generations with that of nature.
Interview Silvia B. 2014 Dolf Henkes Prize
Maria Ikonomopoulou, who is from Greece, has been living in our country since 1985. Through her work, she approaches subjects related to the fundamental question of balance between the collective and the individual. She is particularly interested in how we share public space as citizens (polites in Greek) of a city (polis). She often works in long-term series and uses different methods and materials. What stands out is her preference for photography and time-consuming techniques inspired by folk art, such as embroidery on textiles and paper cutting. Her artistic activities consist of both commissions for public spaces that involve people in the making process, as well as studio pieces and public interventions. These three practices complement each other. Over the last decade, the economic crisis in Maria's home country of Greece has strongly influenced her thoughts. In a short documentary for Canvas TV from 2020, she commented on this titled: The Fall, 10 Years After the Crisis.
Also on view during this exhibition is the 2019 video work Guardian, Tales of Sentience by Mirjam Somers. The animal means everything to her. The engagement between animal and man, their destiny and their mutual right to exist are inextricably linked to her artistry. Once, man and animal were each other's equals and equitably shared the same space. But gradually something changed in that natural positioning. Man cast himself as lord and master over creation: animals and nature were subjected to his urge to act. He swung the scepter from his high degree of self-consciousness in such a heavy-handed manner that there were hardly any escape routes left for the animals. Driven out of deforested jungles, driven to their deaths along highways, robbed of their ivory horns, exhibited in fenced zoos or squeezed into cubicle pens. The time-honored symbiosis between the two earthlings was quietly disrupted. The ravine between animal and man deepened and one day they stood orphaned opposite each other: like failed soul mates in demarcated worlds.
(Excerpt from text Ida Jager Blinded Bird 2021 for the Daily Draw project.