Marlene Dumas: the painter’s life
In 2004, I started to make a visual diary. It is a great way to tune into what feels important. My visual diary has slowly developed and transformed over many years into a multifaceted body of work. This body of work, like Marlene Dumas’s work, has recorded many of the moments in life that felt relevant and significant. It helps me understand and consider the things l am doing a bit better.
Writing about Marlene Dumas’s artwork enables me to articulate what l see and then go deeper into what l, myself, want to achieve when l stand in front of the canvas. Painting is a positive act, it needs to be made with love. A love for life and a love for the subject matter. And more importantly the urge to understand. Through painting, painters record the tension of the making.
When Marlene Dumas paints she paints a metaphor of life. Every painting, like every day, is a constant struggle and wonder. Where fluency and expertise take you to somewhere completely beyond what you see. With every moment and movement on the canvas, she ponders a deeper understanding of what life is all about. As each painting unfolds she records what it feels to be alive.
Marlene Dumas paintings – the painter’s life
With a brush in her hand, Marlene Dumas has a power. If she did not make her visual diary, her life’s work, she has nothing. She works with materials to record the strain. Using bold expressionist marks she records the gestures of figures, the beauty, and ugliness of life. Then by destroying the surface, her own personality is allowed to come through.
Dumas like many other painters, me included, use paint to deal with the randomness of life. It proves that she exists. Just like the primitive man did thousands of years ago when they painted in the caves. It says that her life mattered. At the heart of it, Marlene Dumas is an old fashioned expressionist as she grasps at the unknown.
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"I am delighted when I have a paintbrush in my hand, making something I have never seen before"