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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Peter Harskamp

Peter Harskamp

by Frans Duister, Art historian, Amsterdam

In the hands of Peter Harskamp, the painter's formulation and grouping of thoughts and emotions into expressive compositions repeatedly make a statement and through this he visualises his relation to life. He approaches his work with consequence and virtually removes the so-called partition between figurative and abstract. This, because for him these differences in life do not exist. Through his conception within his paintings he makes it evident and convinces us that such a partition is purely artificial.

Peter Harskamp is not a realist in the familiar sense of the word. He does not try to bring art and nature closer together. The first steps taken in art, such as previously presumed, was to imitate nature. This is, strictly speaking, a flaw in the evaluation of the purpose of art. An artist like Harskamp works from art within itself. He tries to visualise that which asks a question. With Peter Harskamp the familiar elements are truly so totally present with such strength that one sees something being created in a new perception. Those who hear him talk about his work are listening to good news. One talks about the perfecting of the adventitious and the shunning of formalities.
We do not see what we think there is to see.

The space that Peter Harskamp creates for his enormous means of imagery is one that points to nothing, so that the danger of anecdotes is almost non-existent. The simplicity of the compo-sitions is in reality, the uniting of a universal human feeling for terrestrial, beauty, balance, silence, freedom and gentleness.
Harskamp places in his images that wich others dare not to dream, so that we must stop and think twice about it. Motivated by a world within arm's reach, filtered out of the direct surroun-dings and with a perception like that of the small fables of life that have great mening. These feelings can be traced back into each of his paintings. They remain consequent through the specific and inimitable technique that he has made is own. Each painting is carefully registered. The many nuances of colour do little to reduce their greatness in size, but on the contrary, make them all the more extraordinary.

Wherever his works are exhibited  there automatically develops a place filled with human pleasure and a feeling for the necessity of life. A vagueness becomes defined, omnipresence, appealing three dimensionality, and unification of spaciousness. If this style should ever become contaminated by non-believers, then through this freeplay of so many different components ("man's mind works like a sieve: things that are considered important remain, the rest falls through") Peter Harskamp has rescued it from condemnation and brought it openly into the public again.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Peter Harskamp was born on the 28 of March 1951 in The Hague, Holland. He went to the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam from 1968 till 1973, where he, beside his study in graphical techniques, came in contact with ceramics and sculpture. His first solo exhibition was held in 1975 and since then he has worked as an independent painter and sculptor. (See page: Curriculum Vitae)
Painting and sculpture have always varied and inspired each other. Until 1985 there was a three-dimensional work of ceramic sculptures. Then he proceeded to make bronze sculptures. After several years having exhibited at various galleries,  he started the cooperation with Gallery The Two Peacocks in The Hague in 1994. This collaboration would last until 2012. His work has been shown throughout the years on even so many exhibitions in The Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland,  America (New York) and recently in Taiwan. His works are included in (private) collections around the world. There are regular (solo) exhibitions in several renowned galleries in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, namely Bell'Arte Gallery at Maastricht, Gallery Laimböck at Langbroek, Kunsthaus Bühler at Stuttgart and Gallery Walravens at Leuven.

In 2005 a book about his work was published titled "Peter Harskamp and the curbing of the time". Up until today, his sculpture and his paintings kept on inspiring one another.Peter Harskamp lives and works in Bronkhorst, The Netherlands. 

Description of the work  

Despite the difference in disciplines between oil paintings and sculpture in bronze, there are very well points of contact in the work of Peter Harskamp. A clear perceptible tension and a consequently, carried through stylization. Beside that his work has an intense expressive character.In the oil paintings, the subjects are put down in lines, somewhat out of reality and worked out with a rich use of color.  The paintings as the sculptures show a similar apparent nonchalant transformation of the reality, with surprising effects and sometimes with humor.  He achieves a synthesis between his two dimensional work and his sculpture. Painter/Sculptor Peter Harskamp recreates mankind into monumental beings that concern themselves with relaxing activities such as daydreaming, bathing and just being with an animal.  Activities, which modern man allows himself only to a limited extent, but which are his main activities in Peter Harskamp's universe. His human figures are basically invulnerable, because they do not aim at anything. After all, in their disarming naivety, they need not to defend themselves. Thus, the artist creates a type of man that - if it existed - would give the world an entirely new appearance.  

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