Auteur: Martine

For Martine Van Leeuwen

“Give me the city streets, the urban grey,
Quays and canals that keep the water tamed,
The clouds that never look finer than when, framed
By attic windows, they go their windswept way.” *

When the word nature is brought up it annoys some city folk. Nature is something old-fashioned, something inappropriate in this time of Pleasure Islands and charters to Alanya. Especially when you state it as a starting point for your search in art. Are you then not too concerned with yourself? Are your childhood experiences of the sound of the sea, the wind in the mountains, the plants not too personal? Is this really from our time?

“An unhappy childhood is a writer’s gold mine.” Who said it does not matter. According to me this also counts for “A happy childhood”. Rather do not say to be inspired by something other than art, if the appearance of your work at first impression gives no other association than playing with paint effects.

Martine relayed that her childhood experiences in New Zealand nature were very important to her. All the faces around me look speculative. But how greatly I appreciated that comment. Immediately I heard the lapping of the river Maas, I smelt the rubber pontoons burning hot in the sun, the scent of green soap and sweat of Ronnie’s uniform when he brought me to school on the back of his bicycle, saw the dragon-teeth of the Maas bridge, the river that reflected so brightly that you would get tears in your eyes if you looked too long. That was mine, no one could ever take it away from me, neither could anyone take Martine’s sea and her slopes. And what she and I do with those memories is our business.

Martine’s paintings are nature, not depictions of it. They come as nature into existence: with seemingly coincidental steering. In my view, they have very much to do with the attitude of John Cage in relation to composing. In an interview he once explained his method and compared it with picking up stones and shells “choosing one by one, when walking along the beach.” And why that one and not the other one? “Because both of us being there.”

Gouke Notebomer, 25.06.2004
Artist, Teacher