Maarten van Aken – A window is just another canvas II – 140x160cm – acrylic & oil on canvas – 2018 —
For those of you that know me it won’t be a surprise to find Maarten van Aken here. After I bought a painting of his, when we were still both studying on art academy, he became a dear friend. And an exquisite painter.
What attracted me from the start is the intensity of color. In blocks they sometimes literally jump out. But his colors are not just full patches of it. They are layered in a way that a wine has notes and hints of several things, not only in fragrance, but also in color and taste. Even though his paintings are observed with the eye, they can’t help to be noticed as sensations to other senses as well.
His research involved humans as a subject that ended up disappearing entirely, without loosing the sense of presence. There were inside and outside locations, positions where a human could be. We are the human in his works, where all the rest is build up out of visual surfaces. Windows, doors, walls, floors and the sky.
He moved his own physical presence to a place where there were no others. In Norway the focus became light, something that had already been a main ingredient to his work. Plants and trees took on a more prominent role.
After solitude came China, where buildings and windows, typical elements that he frequently addressed in previous paintings, returned. In many. Overlapping each other, spreading out criss cross over the surface. The vibrant play of color, light and lines give a hint of the humans that are clearly in equally many.
Who knows if the human will ever return?
This is exactly why to me Maarten is a high quality painter. Even though he makes works that appeal to many people, that get to be exhibited, sold, discussed and even the news picked up on his daily gouaches, he is not afraid to make changes. The changes can be seen as adjusting the focus. They make sure that the artist stays intrinsically motivated and that the research evolves.
Also, it keeps the viewer longing for more.
He’d be delighted to hear from you!
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