I have always been passionate about drawing and creating my own world. The artworks I create are based on personal reflections, the desire for expressive painting and a drive to continuously reinvent myself by exploring new concepts and techniques. The conceptual reflections are useful to deal with challenges in my ‘other’ role as a senior manager in the financial services industry.
The Hidden Sacrifice concept that is displayed during AIAF is like many of my concepts part of my personal learning; my meaningful journey. It relates to my exploration of the relationship between humans and animals. Starting from a wonderment about the way animals and animal products are a normalised part of everyday consumption, I investigate drivers and patterns influencing my own and human behavior.
I use parchment as key material for the art works. Parchment has been the 'paper' used for some centuries now by monks and book copiers. Before actually starting the creation, I prepare the parchment in accordance with ancient rituals as described in religious literature. Once all preparation is done I paint, cut and burn the parchment until it has the right shape and form. The parchment objects are presented in ‘glass bell miniature worlds’, combined with other objects that were part of my journey.
What drives you?
My key objective is to become a more beautiful person. I use experiences of frustration, pressure and stress as signals of where I could learn important things about myself. It triggers my journey to learn more by reflecting and researching and it materialises through the creation of art works.
What is your definition of art?
Art is both beauty and pity. It requires beauty as it is an aesthetic expression, where the artist uses craft to transform his or her feelings in appealing creations. But if art were only an appealing aesthetic effort to woo the audience it would be no more than good design. In order for it to be art it needs to be connected to the emotions, the ‘pain’ and the meaningful journey of the artist.
Nowadays distance between artist and audience is large, and development of art goes faster than the related knowledge of the art-lover. The question is if and how to bridge that increasing distance, especially when art aims to convey a certain message. This is why I wish to entice the viewer through my 'magic' objects, making them engage in an exploration to understand the meaning of the object. The stories of the objects are kept a secret to allow sufficient space for the viewer's imagination.
Where do you see your art going in ten years?
When looking forward some ten years I realise my challenge is to find a balance between my family, my demanding work life and finding time and focus to create art works. My art mentor Frederik Beerbaum told me that I should currently be in the most productive part of my life in terms of making art. So, as family should be most important I guess I need to either reduce the work part or focus for my art works on quality of work rather than quantity.
On the other end I make my art primarily for myself and therefore the key is that I keep working on concepts and addressing parts of me that could be more beautiful; and there are plenty…
Best Commissioned artwork ever done was…?
For me the most relevant commissioned work were the first two works in the Hidden Sacrifice series. Art collectors Jan and Janny Maas had asked some 20 renowned Dutch modern artist to work with parchment, each resulting in unique pieces of art in their collection. They asked me to create an art work in the same series, which I happily accepted.
It brought me back to some of my family roots related to leather, my grandfather coming to The Netherlands to set up a leather factory as part of the family business. It made me study the elements of parchment crafts, the origin, and brought me to the Hidden Sacrifice theme.
After publishing about this concept I have received quite some interest, good critic feedbacks and it brought me exhibition opportunities; for example at Agora Gallery (Chelsea NYC). As parchment implies a very labor intense process I did not pursue at the time, until the AIAF opportunity came by. I picked up the concept and worked to create a new series that is now first exhibited in this art fair.
Maurice will be exhibiting his art at the Amsterdam International Art Fair 25-26 August 2017 at the Beurs van Berlage, as one of the selected artists.
Profile picture: ©Rob de Jong. Art work pictures: ©Ariane James