Bart van Zweeden
Reality and relevance
The artist's work focuses on portraying reality through the lens of human experience, seeking authenticity and truth while also questioning their relevance. The focus is no longer simply on depicting humans as objects, but rather as subjects whose perception shapes their ability to judge. It is clear that our perception of the world around us is colored by various factors, including news and fake news, facts and lies, truth and fiction, all of which can significantly impact our ability to make sound judgments.
It's important to remember that our eyes are not like recording cameras, and what we see is influenced by our ideas, judgments, upbringing, and culture. In today's world, where social media dominates and forces an overwhelming amount of often irrelevant images and information upon us, we rarely have the opportunity to take a step back and truly evaluate things on our own terms without being influenced by external factors.
"In my recent works, I have been exploring ways to manipulate viewers' expectations and perception by guiding their gaze in a direction that may not be their natural inclination. I use traditional painting techniques to carefully depict models, portraits, and objects before covering them with a transparent (often red) paint, leaving only a few areas exposed. This technique allows for a different interpretation of the subject matter, questioning its existence and relevance.
The areas left visible act as a guide for the viewer's gaze, functioning like a transparent curtain. The entire image remains visible, allowing the viewer the freedom to choose where to focus their attention.
Ultimately, my work demonstrates that our focus can be redirected in unexpected ways, even if it may not seem initially interesting."
As a young biology student in the late 1970s, he discovered his passion for painting. The diversity of forms in our world fascinated him and laid the foundation for his preferred style of work. However, after graduation, he had to sideline his artistic pursuits to support his family.
It wasn't until the 1980s that he received relevant training at the Vrije Academie in The Hague, which significantly expanded his arsenal of creative tools. For years, he experimented with etching and screen printing techniques to maximize their potential.
After a successful exhibition in 1988, it became apparent to Bart that he needed to do more to capture the true essence of expression and imagery. Subsequent exhibitions in 1995 in The Hague reinforced this notion and convinced him of the need to incorporate graphic techniques into his work and embrace a more liberated view of reality. During this time, he also took various courses in model and portrait work, which proved to be invaluable in his artistic pursuits.
He spent two years studying at the MK24 Academy in Amsterdam, where he was exposed to contemporary art and the creative process behind it. Although he faced some challenges in connecting with his own expectations, this experience deepened his understanding of art and its expression. Through observing the work of others, he gained new ideas and inspiration, which eventually formed the foundation for his current work.
Bart has received classical training by attending summer schools at the Classical Academy in Groningen, Netherlands. During his visits, he worked on improving his painting skills by observing models and portraits. This knowledge was further developed in his own workshop. Bart has participated in several exhibitions, including the recent EuropArtFair 2023, where he was awarded 2nd place.
Bart, the youngest of five siblings, entered this world in the beautiful city of Amsterdam in the year 1958.
His parents, who have always been his biggest cheerleaders, have been instrumental in nurturing his artistic talent and helping him achieve his true potential. Their unwavering support and encouragement have been the guiding light that has propelled Bart to great heights in his career as an artist.
2023 EuropArtFair, Amsterdam. 14-15-16 July 2023.
Winner (2nd) EuropArtFair Award 2023
Winner Jakunst Award 2023
2022 First Art Fair March 24-27, 2022
2015 Art Fair Now, Rotterdam, November 14-15.
2009 Gallery Walls, Groupexpo, Prinsengracht, Amsterdam.
1995 Gallery Jan van Munster, Groupexpo, The Hague (now Smelik and Stokking)
1988 Galerie Jan van Munster, Groupexpo, The Hague
1985 Exhibition at Limbricht Castle, (solo) Limburg.
1980 Exhibition Amsterdam Public Library (solo)
1978-1988 Ten years of collaboration with Kunsthandel Reeker Amsterdam.
2023 Europe Art Fair Award (2nd place), Amsterdam.
2023 JaArt ArtAward 2023
Article in magazine VIND, no 50 (June 2023). The magazine for art and art history.