These pages try to evoke a sort of “interweaving” or “Wirkungszusammenhang” as the German language says so beautifully. It is a thing hard to describe in the static Western languages.
This is not the place to expose in depth my current insights, but what I must stress is that personality, agent, ego or I are static concepts that are too narrow and that these concepts need to be de-framed so as to connect to a wider and dynamic Field.
The whole of the cosmos is a context that at the same time both constitutes and is constituted by all the elements that comprise it. And so it is the “Fieldness” of the maker of the works that you will encounter on this site.
My first de-framing came during the war years; schools were turned into barracks for German soldiers and so I passed endless time in the woods of my village, without being drilled to perform the tables of multiplication, one of the main avenues into “rule induced behaviour.” Hence I became a Montessori child.
The second de-framing came when I encountered the so-called “Primitive” people of New Guinea during my time serving as a reserve officer with the Marines in New Guinea.
A fish only knows it is a water-animal once it has been caught and lying in the fishmongers stall. Those Papuans in New Guinea made me aware of my own culture, its narrowness and its biasses.
These two immersions made me useless to serve as a duty-conscious cogwheel in society. I was meant to follow in the footsteps of my father Philip in his business. It was not to be.
The studies of economics confronted me with narrow concepts and after a BA I left that field. Interweaving brought me to Chinese & Western Thinking; to compare these two modes of thinking. (a de=framing contrast). But for the Chinese thinking I needed to familiarize myself with the Chinese cultural tradition, the formative context of Chinese thinking, which of course was shaped in turn by the specifics of Chinese thinking.
You see that my inclination is toward holism, which asserts that understanding any particular thing involves finding a larger whole in which that particular thing is embedded. And embedded means: dynamic & interactive.
Teaching followed at University level in the Netherlands and England.
Then followed teaching in Art schools in Holland and England, and too short a time at a second chance institute in Amsterdam. But teaching involved working with the head and I felt the need to do something that would “balance” me, i.e use my hands.
A watercolour painter I knew set me on the path of watercolour. Later I got to know a colleague at art school Dick Cassee who helped to de-frame further.
During our expeditions, Cassee was always in flow and he shared all his capabilities, addresses and the people he knew generously with me. The Larousse Vignette comes to mind: “Je seme a tout vent.” Through Cassee I got to know Imprimerie “LeBlanc” at the Rue Soufflot in Paris, a wonderful place at the end of the Seventies, and there I got to know Pierre Courtin and Yozo Hamaguchi.
The interweaving became richer and more intricate. Courtin became a model for my work, both in his way of working and in his resistance to the decadence of these times. No concessions about quality and the demands of the market.
The sickening art market.
In the Eighties & Nineties beauty and care for the work made were anathema. I adhered to those two values and by now I had fully learned to swim against the current. And of course, hidden, there were other people doing the same thing: Cassee, Courtin and Helen Smythe especially…. a ceramicist whose work and care always gave me courage and joy. The joy of seeing someone “really” caring about the work, fulfilling as it were her optimal form.
Towards the end of the Eighties I was introduced to Bob Billington, a painter who lived close to a magnificent avenue lined with a double row of mature lime trees. These trees are extraordinary and I photographed them several times. Billington and I developed rather quickly an interactive and mutual admiration for the work of Donald Winnicott. The theme “Field” featured prominently in our dialogues since it played an important part in both our thinking and artistic practice. More visits followed, letters were exchanged and the relation gave occasion to mutual help, visits & trips.
In 1999 Elaine Scarry published her book “On Beauty and being Just.” A revelation and an encouragement. And constantly re-read.
My work has often a tendency toward the “graphic”. Hence it is no surprise that I yearned to enter this field. Reina de Weijer helped me to make a start and suddenly it was all go.
Photography has been with me since I was about 10. My longtime friend was a Rolleiflex. (Like my beaver-tail shaving brush, the Rolleiflex has a soul and has become an intimate friend.) On my first rail trip to China I choose with great care a little panorama camera. I wanted to to take in as much as possible the endless spaces of Russia, the Steppes. Understandable if one comes from a tiny country. Unfortunately the camera was stolen upon arriving in Urumqi. Yes these endless spaces! On my second trip to China I took the Mamiya 645. And now I am back to the Rolleiflex this time the 6008.
The healing capacity of nature is for me a help in finding the inspirations and examples of morality. I have seen millions of olive trees in the plains of Southern Spain, in the burning sun, doing their thing. No neuroses. Just getting on with it. They impacted deeply on me. And so do the beech trees with their young leaves in Spring that filter light so beautifully. They warm my heart and again, set an example.
So here we are. Up till now no explanation of the work itself. It will not be done. The work you see here on this site is for the “EYES”. Not for your ears, not for you mouth. Either there is a connection, or there is not. If yes there is a connection: enter into a dialogue. The work has energy, try to tune in to it, give it your energy, create a field of exchange. All the rest is bullshit. ( But often in this web site I cannot resist to put a little text under some of the work.)
Of course I have written about art, not my own art though. I might in the future attach certain of those pieces here. We will see.
If you want to get in touch with me, use the e-mail address. Visits are welcomed so you can have a closer look at the work. If you want to purchase something, fine I will be honoured and we come to an agreement. I need to sell, I need to exist.
Hospitality is a sacred duty to me, as it was to Abraham (Genesis 18: 1-9) and Philemon and Baucis in the Metamorphoses by Ovid, so I encourage you to come to my house and have a look.
Since the last three centuries an ever increasing part of Western man’s energy and focused attention is occupied with the economic aspect of life. This “occupation” is on the one hand an ever stronger coercion coming from the outside. But this “occupation” is at the same time a choice more or less consciously made by the individual.
What is perhaps worse: this “occupation” has been exported to almost every corner of the earth. Think of China and its tragedy camouflaged as an economic success; in order to protect & cultivate its own age-old culture it needed to become as strong as the dominant Western powers.
More and more people resist this reduction to the dominant economic aspect,
and regain a space where other possibilities and aspects are actualized, that make us fully human. To take time for a conversation that is not constrained by obligations from your agenda. To visit a landscape that appeals to you and revisit it again and again so you engage in a dialogue with it. To do your cooking slowly and with full attention and to notice it will taste better because love and energy have gone into the activity. More examples of doing things beyond the pressure of the economic aspect could be given, but this struggle to escape the “one-dimensionality” is a long and hard one. Ram Dass comforts us though: “When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear…….. Once that realization has emerged, you can honor it or ignore it, but you cannot forget it.”
The more one comes close to the point of choosing for full humanity the more difficult life seems to get. With greater intensity one experiences the injustices being caused in the world, and this awareness absorbs a great deal of your energy. Antonio Gramsci in his Prison Notebooks gave 90 years ago with utter clarity the diagnosis of this tension:
“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”