A Monograph of Landscapes
Marko Klomp has the ability to capture the essence of our time. Each painting made by his hands is a soft poetic gaze at life. This exhibition focusses on the landscapes painted by Marko Klomp. Each painting is either painfully poetic or transportation to light-hearted release. His work's beauty is how effortlessly it manages to transcend immediate intentions to capture the current zeitgeist visually. The Art Historian Wouter Maas curated Marko's monograph of Landscapes for Gallery Sorelle Sciarone.
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Bird of Prey (2017) by Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 100cm x 120cm
Part of his CANTIMA (cantus (song) en imago (visual)) Series
Solo Exhibition: Marko Klomp
Introduction to the monograph by curator Wouter Maas
Freedom and solitude. Two very current themes for many of us. The painted landscapes of Marko Klomp (1974) in the Gallery Sorelle Sciarone collection seem to deal with these themes - but also others. Marko's landscapes make this age-old genre suddenly very topical, no longer relegated to historical exhibitions that tell about a distant past. The landscape is still a source of inspiration for contemporary artists. Besides, these works are not merely representations of environments; they also deal with social, economical and environmental issues. The painted landscape is a source of meaning.
Sunrise I (2019) by Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 100cm x 160cm
Marko Klomp and Landscapes
Marko Klomp is a poet and painter known for his distinct style. His works are characterized by a blurry, soft focus, which creates dreamy worlds. From afar, the whole artwork becomes apparent; the closer we are, the more the abstract qualities of the paintings come to the fore. Marko paints portraits, is inspired by women in nature in an urban environment and uses music in his art. Lately, he has mainly concentrated on landscapes. The result is embracing works that radiate a breath of fresh air, both due to the blurry style of painting and the well-considered balance of mostly calm colours. Blues and greens play a significant role in these canvases. In the paintings in this exhibition, there is always a singular animal in the landscape. Alone in its solitude. These animals are an essential part of a work's mood. At the same time, the paintings remain mysterious, and the closer you come to inspect the image, the more unclear the picture becomes.
Sunrise II (2017) by Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 80cm x 100cm
Landscapes and Emptiness
In the Netherlands, we tend to treat landscape art as a historical phenomenon - a phenomenon not seen in contemporary painting. Exhibitions are arranged based on one artist or a group of painters with stylistic affinities. Think of Hercules Seghers a few years ago in the Rijksmuseum, or various exhibitions around the Hague School. This exhibition shows that landscapes are still a great source of inspiration for contemporary artists - and that they continue to intrigue the viewer. An artist who continues to intrigue like no other is Marko Klomp.
The Gallery Sorelle Sciarone collection contains part of Marko's oeuvre, the majority of which consists of landscapes. Time to look at the meaning of this. The genre of landscapes in Western art has a long history, from the late Middle Ages to the present day. In addition to a purely aesthetic value, the meaning of a painted landscape is related to identity - of both maker and owner. Making art is making choices. A painting is not so much a reflection of reality, but the result of artistic options and these choices have a purpose. For Marko Klomp, the representation of both freedom and loneliness seems to be one of the goals. Freedom and solitude - almost everyone thinks about it.
Most of the works in this exhibition come from the series "Left Behind." Marko Klomp explains that he intends to draw attention to the animal that has been "left behind"; extinct or threatened with it at the hands of humans. The animal in each work offers the viewer the opportunity to enter the landscape. We not only look over the shoulders of the animal, but we also feel with it and thus become part of the work. The painter's explanation and the meaning it can have for the viewer are not mutually exclusive. A piece of art has multiple layers of purpose, and each viewer will find a different meaning in these layers.
Much is required of us in the current crisis. It seems simple: working at home, having as little contact with people as possible, a meter and a half from the few visitors you are allowed to have inside, zooming with family and colleagues. We try to keep in touch, but these measures lead to a loss of meaningful connections, resulting in the sense of loneliness for many. At the same time, "the new normal" feels so different from living a year ago that a significant loss of freedom is experienced—the freedom to travel, to hug a brother or sister, even to shake hands.
Landscapes fill the Emptiness
In the seventeenth century in the Northern Netherlands, the painted landscape emerged as a separate genre for the first time in western art history. These paintings seldom do not always give a picture of reality, but incorporate recognizable elements and contribute to the understanding of one's own country. These works, therefore, have to do with a shared cultural identity. Later this also developed in other parts of Europe in the nineteenth century, and national borders started to play a role in the sense of national identity.
Left Behind IV (2019) Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 100cm x 120 cm.
In the twentieth century, an increasingly individualistic view of identity develops. Today, "identity" can also be understood as something that is in constant change, depending on the environment, people and time it takes place. Perhaps that is why Marko Klomp's paintings are so appealing at the moment. Even though they deal with themes that have been around for longer, the current pandemic makes them even more relevant.
Left Behind V (2019) Marko Klomp. Oil on Panel. 40cm x 50 cm.
The solitude of Marko Klomp's animals is not only achieved by merely displaying them in their environment. Each animal is depicted with delicate brushstrokes, unlike the romantic sfumato of the landscape; they are sharper. This change in painting style almost makes it almost seem as if they do not belong in the environment in which they were painted. Marko emphasizes the loneliness of each animal through the change in technique even more. Alone in a world which they do not belong.
Left Behind VII (2020) Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 80cm x 100cm.
But freedom is also a state of mind. I have been on a plane regularly, on vacation or abroad for my education. Every time I took off, as I watched the world, I just stood on getting smaller and smaller, a sense of total freedom embraced me. Slightly loose, just not tied. I get that feeling when I look at Marko's birds—floating over a peaceful landscape, in the middle of the sky, far above the city. A feeling that more people should miss, but that we will have to deal with for a while. Fortunately, we can still have this feeling through art.
Left Behind VIII (2020) Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 80cm x 100cm.
But paintings do not only serve to make us forget the world for a while. We can also see loneliness as a condition of freedom. There is no one to disturb us; we are alone, withdrawn with our thoughts. In this way, these moments become a possibility for reflection, a moment of relaxation—Marko Klomp's paintings in this exhibition offer this opportunity like no other. The calm colours, the soft focus and the dreaminess of the works give us the chance to turn in turn inwards—a moment of reflection in a troubled world. And even when the crisis is over, when we have more freedom to resume unrestricted, Marko's paintings will continue to be an oasis of rest to retreat into.
Left Behind X (2020) Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 100cm x 120cm.
The lack of freedom and the fear of loneliness is the main themes of this last year. Art, and Marko Klomp's paintings, in particular, offer the opportunity to escape for a while, but also to pause. They create a moment of tranquillity where "lonely" may mean "alone," and alone in the positive frame of a moment to rest. Painted landscapes in particular work like this, they have meaning because they appeal to the identity of the viewer. But it is also the viewer who gives sense to the landscape.
Left Behind XIII (2020) Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 100cm x 120cm.
In more superior words than I have been able to formulate, the nineteenth-century naturalist Henry David Thoreau has clarified the relationship between man and the giving of meaning to (seeing) the landscape. Nature, Thoreau writes, is part of us and at the same time gets value through us.
Distant from ourselves. There is none such.
It is the bog in our brains and bowels, the
Primitive vigor of Nature in us, that inspires
That dream. I shall never find in the wilds of
Labrador any greater wildness than in some recess
Of Concord, i.e. than I import into it.
Henry David Thoreau,
Journal, August 30, 1856
About the Artist: Marko Klomp
Marko Klomp is a painter and a poet, based in The Hague. His work interweaves these two components into a dreamlike poetic state. His style is a distinctive ‘soft focus’ that creates ambiguity in all his work.
You can read more about him and his work at the Gallery here.
About the Curator: Wouter Maas
Wouter is an Art Historian based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He has a Master in Art History from Amsterdam University. Wouter first studied to become a doctor but has dedicated himself to the arts. He describes the art at the gallery through his specialist lense of late Medieval and Early Modern Art Historian. He is also an active member in several social movement projects.
You can read an interview about him here.
If you enjoyed the exhibition, please share it with your friends, family, co-workers, other artists and anyone you like.
All paintings are for sale.