Curriculum Vitae

Yvonne van Woggelum (1958, Den Hoorn, The Netherlands)


Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Arnhem, The Netherlands

About the work

The greater part of Yvonne van Woggelums' work is comprised of acrylic on canvas paintings of photo-like imagery radiating a sense of magic realism. The atmosphere of the work is at times comparable to that of French-Belgian painter Paul Delvaux, albeit without the latter's emphasis on the macabre and supernatural. Another difference is that the tension that Van Woggelum manages to build into her work is more under the surface. It is precisely this uncanny lack of connection between the inner and outer worlds of her portrayed figures that makes them appear somewhat like characters caught in a film that has stopped running; imprisoned in inertia, wallowing in languid apathy, mirroring themselves like some endless repetition of Narcissus, drowning in their own self- image.

After visiting an exhibition of her work some time ago in the atrium of Culture Centre Cultura in Ede I wrote the following:
"Rhenen artist Yvonne van Woggelum has been in the process of moving from a strongly defined and unambiguously clear style of group portrait works in acrylic paint, towards landscapes in oil. The motivation for this departure, she says, has been her desire for an approach that allows more spontaneity between paint and canvas during the creative process. It is understandable that Van Woggelum should wish to deviate from her thematic from time to time; the imagery she has used in the past to portray her vision of humanity is far from cheerful. A world where people are condemned to individualism, in isolation of each other. We see these characters in various poses, often placed in an unflattering cold blue light with, just as often, the surrounding figures depicted as mere variations in posture of the central personality. We cannot speak of surroundings or background - it is all monochrome. The dominating feature of her work is a tightly ordered composition".

The powerful effect of reality visualised in this way empowers her work with an intense formality; a search for order amongst her elements of imagery, a balance between paralysis and dynamics, between the strange and the urbane. Work of this ilk demands patience and unimpeded concentration. Thin layers of paint are meagrely applied until an image of urgent clarity emerges from the canvas. No wonder then that, with such a labour-intensive technique, the artists catalogue has expanded so slowly. But the fact that Van Woggelum has also chosen to begin working with oil on canvas is more than just a reaction to the problem of output. It has enabled an expansion of her thematic and a greater degree of spontaneity in the process. It has also ushered in an enrichment of her technique with the emphasis in her oil on canvas works moving towards the paint surface.

A quote from a review recently published in the Dagblad De Gelderlander perhaps best summarises her current direction:
"With her recent foray into landscapes in oil, the artist has remained faithful to the tight order of composition dominating her work, but here it is the paint surface that functions as the enlivening element in her painting".

Antonie den Ridder, May 2009


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