André de Jong’s Evocative Works Highlight a Group Show in Amsterdam
For their latest group show, the Merchant House in Amsterdam offers an intimate collection of works by three artists at the forefront of abstraction: the Italian Pino Pinelli, the Dutchman Kees Visser, and his compatriot André de Jong, whose mixed-media drawings and “Folds” pieces play with monumentality and delicacy.
De Jong developed his vision over the course of a 40-year career in which he has explored the gray areas between refinement and richness, abstraction and representation, and two- and three-dimensionality. He maintains a studio in the northern reaches of the Netherlands, where he works in relative isolation for long stretches of time, creating his evocative compositions. He also regularly travels to Iceland and Norway, gleaning inspiration from the foreign landscapes. Nature, largely in its abstracted form, figures prominently in his work, from the flora and fauna of his immediate studio surroundings to the fjords, seascapes, and dramatic cliffs in the lands he visits. The human body, similarly abstracted, also appears in his work—the curve of a woman’s back, the outline of a head, or the stretching length of a leg.
In the lush mixed-media drawing “Gehangen”/Mixed Media Drawing (2013), de Jong sets blush, crimson, and ink-black forms against a white background. A black rectangle anchors one corner of the composition while resting atop another rectangle, this one painted pink and bearing a red center. With its rippling, dripping edges, the lower rectangle seems to slowly slide down the drawing’s surface.
His beguiling “Folds” pieces also highlight the show. De Jong creases and folds heavy paper to create sculptural ridges and depressions, as in “Rosa-noir”/The Folds Series (2014). Its dimensionality and alluring sense of richness are essential to his work.
“TMH Winter Group Show: Pino Pinelli, André de Jong, Kees Visser” is on view at the Merchant House, Amsterdam, Jan. 8–Apr. 8, 2016.