April Newsletter: What's the story behind this painting

THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY - 24"X18" - Oil on Linen. Contact  Nadine Robbins  for more information

THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY - 24"X18" - Oil on Linen. Contact Nadine Robbins for more information

Can you imagine one day not being able to walk? That's what happened to my friend Diane who threw her back out and was bedridden for months.

During her convalescence, she read "Infinity Net" the autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation. In one of the chapters, it explained why Yayoi painted dots. The artist has had mental health problems, and while she was in an institution, she discovered that painting dots repetitively helped her cope. These dots inspired me to create a painting of Diane. She is holding a piece of fabric with black dots symbolizing the depression she experienced during her recovery, and her tight embrace of this fabric shows her strength and vulnerability.

If you're curious about the symbolism of her tattoos, check out the blog post.

Photo: Image of me photographing Diane.

Photo: Image of me photographing Diane.

International Biennial Portrait Competition at WMOCA juried by Margaret Bowland

Serafina, 24” x36”, Oil on Linen, 2017, Contact  David Hummer  at WMOC for availability.

Serafina, 24” x36”, Oil on Linen, 2017, Contact David Hummer at WMOC for availability.

The Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art is proudly presenting The International Biennial Portrait Competition 2019. They are excited to offer this new exhibit every two years to bring the best portrait painters and sculptors from around the world to the heart of America. “Serious venues for portrait and figurative painting are few and far between in the US. We believe this exhibition, as it grows, will rival that of the Smithsonian’s Outwin Boochever, in Washington, DC, and the BP Portrait Awards, in London, England.”

This competition was open to all painters and sculptors internationally, ages 18 and over and sponsored by WMOCA, Didi Menendez, PoetsArtists, and Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. The accepted works will be on exhibition at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art from April 9, through June 29, 2019, with a Reception for the artists on April 25 from 6-8pm. Open to the public. This year’s competition was curated by David Hummer and Margaret Bowland, Painting Instructor, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY. Margaret will be making her final selections in person on April 25.

A excellent article about the show from Beautiful Bizarre Magazine.

Exhibition Dates:
April 9 – June 29, 2019
Opening Reception: April 25, 2019 | 6-8pm

What do the tattoos on this portrait painting mean according to Diane, the model?

The Power of Vulnerability, 24” x 18”, Oil on linen on board, 2019. For inquiries contact  Nadine Robbins

The Power of Vulnerability, 24” x 18”, Oil on linen on board, 2019. For inquiries contact Nadine Robbins

It all started with my travels to Hawaii. After visiting Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, on the Big Island, I really felt a deep connection with the earth. It felt like home. Not in an “I like to live in paradise kinda way’”  but a deeper connection. While sitting on this igneous rock looking at the tiny ferns sprouting, it really made me wonder about my roots, my ancestors, and my life lived until that very moment. Spending a week with 2 of my closest friends in a roundhouse surrounded with Hibiscus flowers and a view of the ocean in Pahoa got me inspired to translate this experience into a tattoo. 

As a native Dutch-Indonesian, I was looking for an artist that connects eastern & western art. After extensive research in black & grey tattoos, I found Yoni Zilber

To my understanding, Yoni Zilber is one of a few tattoo artists in the world who specializes in the Tibetan style and Black & Grey tattoos, but he also enjoys and excels in a range of artistic genres. Yoni increasingly focusses on translating the Tibetan style into symbols. In each piece, whether it is a traditional Tibetan image or an original composition brought through the Tibetan style, Yoni strives for beauty, flow, and simplicity while remaining sensitive to his client’s needs and respectful of the tradition upon which he is drawing. 

Sitting with Yoni was a contemplative experience, a meditation in the mind-body connection. My tattoos will act as a daily reminder of my roots, my travels and to find joy in every day given to me. 

My Right Arm

Hibiscus Flowers - represent courage, honor, and life. Flowing water represents the Pacific ocean and the constant flow of thought & emotions. 

Water Pearls -  which are believed to possess the power of bringing good fortune. (Yoni added them as a gift)

Nautical Star  - is an old sailor’s tattoo used as an image for protection and guidance through life. I got this when we migrated from the Netherlands to the US.

My Back

Represents my roots, my Chinese great grandmotherChinese Dragon - Chinese Dragon represents wisdom and goodwill.

Keris -  A Javanese dagger my great grandmother wore on her hip every day. (It’s the most traditional weapon of Indonesia and is the most essential heirloom for the Indonesian people)

My Left Arm

Balinese Barong Mask - represents the good spirit
Skulls - celebrating the dead & passed experiences
Balinese designs - represents creativity.

My right shoulder

Birds symbolizes my kids and being close to finding my way home.

The painting will be on display during the second leg of the traveling exhibition "Painting the figure now 2019" curated by Didi Menendez from Poets and Artists and Sergio Gomez at the Zhoub Arts Center in Chicago from Oct 18 to Nov 13, 2019

Exhibition Opening Date/Time: Oct 18, 7-10pm

Photos of Painting Today at The Meam, 20x20 at Galerie Arte Libre, and my escapades in Barcelona

What a week in Barcelona it was! So much happened and before I knew it I was back in the States with terrible jet lag and a huge smile on my face. I found myself talking to tv cameras and the press more than I’m used to and held my own. It was SURREAL! Below are lots of photos in no particular order of the Meam press conference and opening, the 20x20 opening at Galerie Arte Libre, and my travels with my friend Sequoia throughout Barcelona. Click here for a review by Lorena Kloosterboer. Many thanks to Didi Menendez from Poets and Artists, Jose Manuel Infiesta from the Meam and Jose Enrique Gonzalez from the Galerie Arte Libre.

(Photos courtesy of the MEAM, participating artists, press, and Alessandro Tomassetti, Barcelona, Spain.)