A blog is always a big egotrip, so I’m going to start this post by writing about me. We’ll get to Sebastiaan Verhees later, I promise. Good feedback is always welcome and a couple of days ago I asked a colleague to comment on my latest work. His main critique was that I should stop trying to hide my insecurity about my painting behind intellectual virtuosity. Which, in normal terms would be: stop trying to be so clever and just start painting. Very useful advice. And this advice was the first thing that popped into my head, the first time I saw works by Dutch artist Sebastiaan Verhees (see: that didn’t take too long, now did it?).
Verhees was recently one of four winners of the Dutch Royal award for painting. Which, besides the opportunity of meeting the Dutch queen (hurrah!) and €6000,-, means that he got a lot of extra attention for his work. The works ‘heavy light’ and ‘night vision’ show scenes of the are where Verhees currently lives in Berlin. It’s a shopping area after opening hours, when those that have become outcasts of our consumption society may once again take over the streets. There is a clear message in these works, if you wish to see it. The same goes for other works Verhees has made. He is clearly a social aware painter, but -unlike some- he doesn’t try to be smart about it. With beautiful, lush and generous strokes he just paints images he sees. By carefully choosing composition and cleverly making use of colours he treats his audience to magnificent views that invite you to think about what you see.
So, Verhees is not smug. Nor does he forget about what his talent, and his profession, is: painting. Looking at his paintings, you don’t feel like you should be solving a puzzle. However, there is message there, if you want to see it.
Photocredit: the photo of Sebastiaan Verhees presenting his works to the Dutch queen was taken from the website, Trendbeheer.