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Piet van den Boog: “I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest”

Mike Weiss Gallery
520 West 24th Street, 212-691-6899
May 13 - June 19, 2010
Reception: Thursday, May 13, 6 - 8 PM
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Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to present new large-scale works by Dutch artist Piet van den Boog. Influenced by Dutch painters Frans Hals and Vermeer, van den Boog evokes an array of emotion in the spectator by allowing him/her to be present in a profoundly intimate setting.

In this new series of paintings, the artist illustrates the dichotomy that the human ability to make choices both affords us and denies us control over our lives. Heavily influenced by the writings of Sylvia Plath, the artist based these works on a passage from Plath’s 1963 novel in which a fig tree metaphorically describes the situation that we often find ourselves in when faced with difficult choices:

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet. - Sylvia Plath (“The Bell Jar”, 1963)

Van den Boog’s method of using etching fluids to oxidize the surface of the unfinished black steel creates a deep and weighty aesthetic. Van den Boog reveals his thematic intention through controlling the corrosion of the steel, therefore manifesting the metaphor of the figs’ demise through his materials. He lays an under-painting in acrylic for quick-drying and a sketchy finish, and then applies a top layer of oil paint. This technique creates nuances and details in the portraits and intensifies the color. In addition, referencing the French tale of the sculptor Rodin and his mistress Camille Claudel, van den Boog uses clay on the surface as a medium and a metaphor. With their complex medium of two-toned steel, two types of paint, and a top layer of clay, these paintings take on an innovative textural and dynamic quality.

This is Piet van den Boog’s second solo show at Mike Weiss Gallery. He is represented in many prominent collections in the United States and abroad, including the Scheringa Museum voor Realisme, Spanbroek, the Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, New York, and the ING Bank, Amsterdam among others.
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