There's a Snake in my Boot: Jordy van den Nieuwendijk's wonderful farm-themed paintings
In his latest series, There's a Snake in my Boot, Dutch artist Jordy van den Nieuwendijk invites you to imagine yourself outside in the barnyard, on the farmland. In his trademark style, in which no line too many are used to depict the subjects, it allows him to portray their bare essence.
Shy of animals or human figures; no-one is ploughing the fields, scattering seeds or preparing the soil for planting. Perhaps this suggests that the viewer takes on the role of the farmer being asked to observe, enjoy and wander without getting dirty and tired from their labours.
In this continuation of his minimal figurative vocabulary Van Den Nieuwendijk engages the agricultural setting in a unique way encouraging the viewer to focus on the often overlooked; from farm buildings to garden tools, as well as revisiting subjects like a cactus, a bell pepper, plants and flowers.
The subjects are all located in the centre and the foreground arranged as if on a stage. Little exists around them besides highs skies, and low floors with dark shadows hinting at bright light sources. Highlighting various vanishing points on the horizon that are different in height, allows the artist to play with perspective and point of view. The subjects often intentionally lack colour having a negative space leaving it up to the viewers' imagination.
A boundary between the abstract and the figurative is not drawn. As long as Van den Nieuwendijk does not choose a side, he retains space for experimentation and can freely play with these shadows, horizons and negative spaces. The series (which was recently on show at Public Gallery) epitomises Van den Nieuwendijk’s colour-field painting approach as well as the colourful optimism that characterizes all of his work, shining a new light on natural elements and man-made objects that we often take for granted.