Featured Artist

Janine Van Oene

Interview by Floor Kortman, Art by Janine van Oene

Our October cover artist Janine van Oene (1988) only recently graduated but was already nominated for several prestigious awards. We first saw her mysteriously beautiful paintings at her graduation exhibition of the HKU this year and were immediately intrigued by the dark interiors and heavy brushstrokes. Her paintings appear as glimpses from an alternate universe that, with its weird objects and perspectives, does feel oddly familiar. Van Oene is now in residency at De Ateliers in Amsterdam working on a new strategy, using her time to work, as she put it “…without any plans, allowing myself to make ‘ugly’ things.”

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How are you doing?

I’m doing great! After my graduation a lot of things good started happening. First I got the fantastic new that I was accepted at De Ateliers. After that I heard I won the Buning Brongers Price and I was also nominated for the Royal Award for Modern Painting.

A lot of emails followed from galleries that were interested in exhibiting my work. This summer I was part of the Best of Graduates exhibition at Gallery Ron Mandos through which I sold a lot of paintings, including some to important collectors. I think it’s really interesting and fun to experience this side of the art world.

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Can you tell explain something about your work and the themes that you work with?

I paint spaces, objects or moments through which I hope to be able to relate to the collective memory. They are descriptions of different moments or experiences passages from a book, fragments from films, something I read or saw. And sometimes it’s an attempt to hold on to a memory. An image becomes interesting to me when it not immediately tells a story or expresses meaning, but when the forms and materials are there to start a thought process.

I hope my work can be as exciting as exploring a new place, or if it can drive the thoughts of the viewer back into a blurred memory or dream.

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You just started a residency at De Ateliers, do you have a plan of what you’ll be exploring here?

During my graduation period I tried to stick to one style as much as possible. I experimented, but at some point it was important that every painting was a ‘good’ painting. Since September I’ve been working in my new studio at De Ateliers which offers me the space and time to let go of everything I was holding on to before. So now, I’m going to paint like a four-year old for a little while, without any plans, allowing myself to make ‘ugly’ things. Besides that I’m just going to continue what I was doing and I hope my new freedom will positively influence my paintings.

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