‘Summer Vibes - Young Female Artists' is the appropriate title for a summer exhibition with lively, colorful and spatial work by young talented female artists. Bonnie Severien, Nadja Schlenker, Bregje Sliepenbeek and Florentijn de Boer freely interweave design, art, architecture and nature in their installations, paintings and objects.
Pien Rademakers chose young female artists who have common ground in terms of a shared sources of inspiration, but the choices of materials, techniques and outcomes are surprisingly diverse. Bonnie Severien (1978) often opts for a high-contrast balance between austere architecture and dynamic nature. Her large canvases exude a fifties atmosphere because of her special use of color that has shifted in her latest works to summery taupe, purple red, bottle green and pastel. The modernist architecture in a lush jungle of plants and flowers immediately draws the viewer into a dreamed reality, which has something contemplative like in the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich. They are tranquil places in the by humans cultivated nature.
The Secret Garden
Her new series entitled The Secret Garden was realized with a project subsidy from the Mondriaan Fund. Also here the artist shows her staged and assembled world in which she plays with differences in scale between nature and a geometric architecture. To do this, she picks plants from her own garden or wild flowers on the roadside in her neighborhood, photographs them and composes a collage. Each line or leaf is taped, cut and painted in, creating a graphic effect. The plants represent growth, abundance, prosperity and innocence. The swarm of fireflies that alternately glow and eventually extinguish, represent both life and transience.
In her work Severien mixes easily Dutch 17th century flower still lifes and Vanitas paintings, cut-out plants and flowers in geometric patterns inspired by Matisse, the austere lines of De Stijl, the lavish forms of the Amsterdamse School and the ancient Dutch ‘Trechterbeker’ culture, until she has found the perfect contrasting balance.
Nadja Schlenker (1989) and Bregje Sliepenbeek (1986), who recently graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, both operate at the intersection of architecture, spatial design and art. Schlenker has a great interest in cities and architecture, especially in relation to people. She has lived in Rome, Beirut, Bangkok, Berlin and Amsterdam and calls cities collages in which social, political and historical aspects are mixed. “Behind the buildings are hidden stories that inspire me,” she says.
In the gallery she installs a two-and-a-half meter high 'cityscape' and investigates how the objects and visitors relate to each other. You can move through the playful and tactile objects, touch them and experience the installation as a whole, but the objects also function as separate sculptures or functional objects.
Bregje Sliepenbeek (1986) also opts for spaciousness. She studied jewelery design, but does not make wearable jewellery. She rather produces large, spatial jewels, lightweight wall hangings, mobiles and objects made of metal or aluminum that are always in motion; the works react to light and air currents and reflect the environment.
Her latest works are developed with a grant from the Mondriaan Fund during a residency in Eindhoven. There she made frames with open structures using metal cast in moulds. Her work is characterized by a high degree of craftsmanship. Using various techniques and treatments, she kneads the hard metal into a tactile, almost liquid material.
Still and moving flowers
After a series of more abstract paintings, her new works are more figurative and summery, but still colorful, layered and full of movement. Florentijn de Boer (1993) has narrowed her view on the world and found inspiration closer to home. As in flower still lifes by old masters, her work is about transience, mortality, but also about purity and admiration for Creation.
On the canvas, the artist freezes time; the flowers and patterns stand still for a moment before they irrevocably make the transition to transience, themes that also play a role in the work of Bonnie Severien. At the same time, De Boer offers the suggestion of movement, as if a summer breeze makes the flower leaves tremble. She plays with the tension between flatness and depth, appearing and disappearing and between filling in and omission.