Koen Vermeule Dutch, b. 1965


"My paintings are not narrative. I view the world with a photographic eye. I 'catch' everyday, fleeting reality and hold it for a moment. want to uncover the mystery of trivial and everyday life. They are reflections on the present, rapid technological developments and associated social behavior. My paintings always come from the vicinity; it is often fleeting street or images of nature that attract my attention. I recognize the usable moment, isolate what I saw and manipulate it. Snapshots to show the possibility of what a painting could be. A first cut-out, a first filter of light. With the noise still in, with too many details. I also want to show the influence of art history on my viewing (Seurat, Spilliaert, Muñoz, Hokusai).


My works are populated by typical city people, individualistic, in their own world. Busy with their cell phone, listening to music on their headphones. I am fascinated by human behavior in the metropolis. A graffiti painter with a cap on and baggy pants, in the work Skywriter. He is spraying a graphic sign into the air. A magical moment. It shows that his ambitions make a lot possible. A girl from a peace procession with a giant peace dove. A Turkish woman with her child in a Dutch playground, seen from a high position. Urban youngsters, positioned on the edge of a Scandinavian lake in the work High above Ground, now connect it to the romance of Caspar David Friedrich. People on an evening roof with fireworks in Ghosts. A boy who sits on a bench in a museum and seems to have fallen asleep in Tokyo Dreamer.


I look for and paint the strongest image possible. Images that can settle on the retina, but whose meaning is open, enigmatic. For example, a reclining figure can start moving in meaning between dismay, rest or even death. The context of the originally registered image can completely change and so a "Lowlands" girl can end up in a maritime landscape.


Figure and landscape are constants, often a symbiosis develops between the two, but I also show the bare, empty, designed landscape. These are often images taken from a moving car or train; this rapid movement returns to the painting through the paint treatment. This is how contemporary issues come into my work, issues about globalization, youth culture, integration or the artificial Dutch landscape. I relate to these topics through involvement, without wanting to propagate any form of activism. The visual quality and the enigmatic and ambiguous meaning remain paramount."