Palet Kunstmagazine 3/4-1993 English translation
Monica van Rijn 'People and Nature' By Jan Frenken Monica van Rijn was born in Amsterdam in 1950 and lived in the United States until she was 25 years of age. She attained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology, with a minor in Psychology in 1974. Thereafter she traveled through Europe and Hawaii and her explorations ended in 1977 in Amsterdam where she still lives and works. It is not possible to truly experience Monica van Rijn's work from viewing a photograph or slide. Her work is built up of structural layers which are then difficult to detect. There is a broad range of painting techniques evident in her paintings. Soft pastel shades in the background. Broad sweeping forms made by brushes and pallet knives are applied to top layers. Because several thin layers placed upon one another build up the surface, the paintings are rich in texture. The dynamics of her painting style manifests itself in each painting. Although no intentional reference to nature is made, a scenic atmosphere is obvious. Figuration is secondary to the 'lyric expressionism' in her work. As she paints, figures and scenery automatically emerge; not exactly in the way we are used to seeing them, but in a way that still expresses our own relationship to nature and figuration. Every part of the painting process is traceable in her work. Occasional drippings, spats and rapidly applied dry brushstrokes, pallet knife scrapes, and powdery substances all participate in the imagery. All of what takes place while painting becomes part of her pictorial vocabulary. The lively, exuberant canvasses show us the path she must have taken to reach this intensity. Her working materials are acrylic paints, oil crayons, and charcoal. With speed and emotion, she places her perceptions on the canvasses, searching for a balance of form and color. Twelve photographs of her work are spread out on the table in front of me. I will have to make a choice. Luckily, I was recently able to see her exhibit for myself, because photos are really too small to observe the textural quality which is so essential to see. The painting 'Home at Last', depicts a figure standing in an undefined landscape. Watery reflections and blue-gray shades give it a lyrical quality, while, from somewhere else on the canvas an impending force emerges. In 'Corrida' (See: cover), the canvas is controlled by a figure which steps out of the background. Bright red brush-loads of paint speak for themselves. In ‘Other Dimensions' there is little reference made to figuration. This is a pure abstract work; yet, reminds us of our instinctual relationship to nature. It is not made, but has evolved, like all things that grow. The background is built up of pink and turquoise blue tones. The black forms on top are open and motioning. The surface has matured. This is a painting with authentic strength. The painting 'De-light' is the most scenic. A horizon, full of movement, not of natural, but of industrial and urban violence. Underneath is a saturated earth. Would I be going too far to assume that the black rectangle in the sky had once been the sun? Harmony is achieved through open areas on the right-hand side of the painting. Reference made to our relationship with our surroundings gives this work an extra dimension. Good artistry carries a certain substantial quality. Something the viewer can connect with; a response to your inner self. It doesn't even matter if it's abstract or figurative.