Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Featured Artist: Wilma Vissers

A self portrait of Wilma Vissers


I am Wilma Vissers. I was born in 1962 in the little town of Heerlen in the south of the Netherlands. It's an old mining town. The mines where closed in 1970. I remember seeing big heaps of coal and dust lying everywhere when I grew up. Images of black material and industrial surroundings often come to my mind. I feel these images are important as they were the first impressions of the world around me. Those impressions are still present in my drawings today. I believe the landscape of my childhood triggered my interest in the texture of materials and big monumental forms.

I moved away to study art. First at the art academy in Den Bosch where I studied graphics for a year. I practiced dry needle etching and drawing. I completed my study at the art academy in Groningen where I also studied graphics and painting. Johan van Oord was one the teachers I studied with. He is important to me, as is Ruud de Rode. Johan taught me to experiment with my images and made me aware of the mystery of painting, and Ruud encouraged my way of drawing and showed me that making art can be fun. I graduated in 1989 and I stayed in Groningen because it is a very nice town.

Besides working on my artistic work, I also work as a web designer. I work at a community center where I teach web design to those who want to create their own website.

My bicycle.

I also teach immigrant ladies how to ride a bicycle and how to behave as a road user.

My work

I am inspired by emptiness and space. Spatiality and infinite space must be present even in the smallest work. A particular role is played by my memory of land and seascapes seen in Ireland.

This video is made on St. John's Eve, the 21st of June at midnight. St John's Eve or Oiche Fheile Eoin (Bonfire Night), is celebrated in many parts of Ireland with the lighting of bonfires. (... to learn more about St. Johns Eve visit wiki/stjohnseve )

These visual impressions formed the material I used in the past to make my paintings and drawings. It is often small trivial items, unimportant to other people, that form the basis of my work. I collect images seen in a cursory glance in the street, on the television or as film stills in the paper.

Wilma Vissers, Oil sticks on wood, 2009

While making a work of art, I always ask myself, "how much can be excluded?". My work must express feelings of monumentality and spatiality. There is often a balance between spatiality and two dimensionality resulting from my use of irregular dimensions. For example: long and narrow.

Wilma Vissers, Gouache on sticks, 20x20 cm, 2009

In the last year, I have used actual objects such as a paint spatula, an ice-lolly stick and a large matchstick. By incorporating such unusual materials, the work is charged with lightheartedness and humor, putting the burden of ones relationship with art history into perspective. The round painting is new and lacking corners. Such a form appears to have a stronger relationship with space.

Wilma Vissers, Goauche on wood, wooden knife, 2x7cm, 2008

Wilma Vissers, Oil sticks on wood, 30x15 cm, 2010

Wilma Vissers, Oil sticks on paper

Wilma Vissers, Oil sticks on paper collar, 20 cm, 2008

The works must be thought out spatially; line and color do not stop at the edges but appear to continue beyond. The walls of my studio have a similar function to the walls of an exhibition space and therefore become part of the work. In this way, an overall picture is created which one could describe as a new work of art.

Objects display on the wall in my studio.

Wilma Vissers, Oil sticks on sanding paper, 40x50cm, 2009

Objects installed on the wall in an exhibition space.

Wilma Vissers, Oil paint on wooden shape, 10x20cm, 2007

My latest work is made with oil sticks, wood, paper, carton and sanding paper. My work often arises from objects other artist friends give me. For example, an interior designer that I know has very nice samples of wood. These wooden blocks have a very nice surface or a very interesting grain and nice coloring. Every piece of wood has a different internal character which I can accentuate by applying oil stick color to them. Sometimes a little dab of a certain color is enough and large parts of the wooden surface will remain open and untouched.

Wilma Vissers, Oil paint on wood, 2008

Wilma Vissers, Oil paint on wood, 3x5 cm, 2008

Within the the last two years I made a drawing every day in a Moleskine sketchbook. The drawings are small and made with a black pencil. I take the pencil in my hand and go wherever the pencil takes me. The drawings reflect my mood and events that happen to me and my ideas and thoughts appear in it. It is more spontaneous and direct than my other artworks because of the technique of drawing. In a way it is like a diary with drawings. I put the drawing of the day on my website and on Facebook.

Wilma Vissers, everyday drawing made in a sketch book with black pencil, 2010

Wilma Vissers, Everyday drawing made in a sketch book with black pencil, 2010

Wilma Vissers, Everyday drawing made in a sketch book with black pencil, 2010

This Spring, I stayed in an international art center in the county Donegal in Ireland called Cló. This art center is an artist-lead initiative that provides a platform for creative exchange between international artists and the Gaeltacht community in Ireland. I had a very nice stay there and I was very productive. I was very much inspired by the landscape and people of Ireland.

I stayed in room this during my residency at Cló in Ireland.

This is Cló's front garden.

A television set left behind on the roadside on a beautiful Ireland landscape.

This is a wall of a house standing in the valley of Glenlough in Donegal Ireland.

I took a graphics workshop during my residency at Cló. My aim was to take some drawings out of my Moleskine sketchbook and make lithographs out of them. In that way the images from the book could evolve a little bit further and they are freed from the sketch book.

My daily drawing in Moleskine sketchbook.

By creating lithography out of my everyday drawings, I developed the images that came from drawings little bit more. The technique of lithography was very suitable for this. I will show these lithographs in my studio in Groningen in November.

Lithography made during my residency at Cló in Ireland, 40 x20 cm, 2010

Lithography made made during my residency at Cló in Ireland, 19 x12 cm, 2010


I will be showing my work with two other artists, Ahn Hyun-Ju and Eric Knoote at ParisCONCRET in Paris, France this September. This exhibition, Position Fludium, will be opened from 4 September - 25 September, 2010.

Wilma Vissers, Oil sticks on wood, 40x20cm, 2010

allery hours are 2-5pm, from Wednesday to Saturday. You’re cordially invited to an opening reception with the artists that has been scheduled for Saturday, September 4 at 5-8pm. ParisCONCRET is located at 5 rue des Immeubles Industriels in Paris. Please visit its website for more information.


Wilma Vissers, Oil sticks on wood, 10x15cm, 2008

Am I available for commissioned works? It depends on the kind of commission. I designed the cover of the Ambrozijn for a year. This is an art and literature magazine from Flanders in Belgium.

One of Wilma Vissers' cover designs for the Ambrozijn, art and literature magazine Flanders in Belgium

y artworks can be seen at www.wilmavissers.com. Your readers are welcome to contact me at wilma.vissers@home.nl

Image Credit: All images courtesy of Wilma Vissers.