EYE

Blick in die Welt hinter der Kunst

The color woodcuts of Siemen Dijkstra:
SIEMEN DIJKSTRA / Sep 6th, 2019

Siemen Dijkstra (1968) was already fascinated by nature as a child. Partly because of his father's colorful anthologies, a hobby paleontologist, the young Siemen learned the secrets of the landscape and developed a fascination for stones, which he found everywhere. His collection of stones formed the foundation for his works of art, each of which reflects his love for the natural landscape in which he still lives and works.
 
Drawing ink
At the end of the eighties, Siemen Dijkstra created his first landscapes in drawing ink. Until then, fantasy and the story had been the guiding object of his drawings, although the subject 'landscape', albeit in a somewhat more abstract form, was already part of his oeuvre. In the early 1990s the first color woodcuts appeared with the landscape as a central subject. The biggest challenge here was not to capture the landscape in itself, but to define the intangible, that which affects the mind. His inspiration came from his strong connection with the Groningen and Drenthe rural landscape. When he cycled through it during the night and the night, the atmosphere brought him back to the landscape where he, as a child, went looking for stones with his father.
 
Reduction method
Siemen Dijkstra uses the color woodcut technique in constructing his artworks. This is a graphical high-pressure technique, in which the subject is first drawn on a wooden plate, after which it is cut out, inked and finally printed on paper. In the construction of the woodcut, Dijkstra also uses the reduction method: the image is cut out in a wood plate, and with each print run more and more details are carved out of the same wood plate. The style of Siemen Dijkstra is characterized by meticulous perfectionism, sometimes involving up to fifteen different print runs, before the artwork is really 'finished'. A new color nuance is added to each print run, resulting in an incomparable depth effect. The many layers he makes in his works give him the opportunity to bring the layered reality of the depicted to the surface.


 
Always back home
Dijkstra loves to travel, and has already wandered through many distant landscapes, in which he does not shy away from hardships such as cold and wind. The impressions from his journeys to foreign countries are therefore regularly reflected in his woodcuts. But one thing is certain: he always comes back to the core, his own site in the vicinity of Dwingeloo. When he is back on the heath, Siemen Dijkstra remarks that, as he expresses it himself, he has shot quite a lot at the spot where he grew up.
 
Maybe that umbilical cord with his roots allows him to express with so much inspiration what fascinates him about the landscape. Its trees cut out of wood, meadow landscapes and water features stand out for their richness in color nuance and detail. They exude an atmosphere of nostalgia and perhaps even a hint of melancholy. Melancholy about the natural landscape, which also has to make way for the so-called civilization in the north of the Netherlands. Siemen Dijkstra sees himself as a kind of archivist in this respect: he archives landscapes in which the clock seems to stand still. An ode to the time in which man did not rule nature, but was part of it. Siemen Dijkstra captures these natural landscapes with a lot of love and inspiration, before they disappear from view for good.
 

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