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Jan Beekman Chicago Period 1983-1996


Grand Canyon – Chicago Period

Jan Beekman has been living and working for about 15 years in Chicago. Jan Beekman’s artwork was Fundamentally influenced by his travels around the United States during this period. His long stay in America not only expanded his field of work but also the vision of the artist in Jan Beekman. Jan Beekman’s discovery of the South West, Colorado, the steep and rocky slopes of Monument Valley gave rise to an ever-increasing fascination with nature. The varieties of colour as well as the various kinds of landscapes drew his attention. These regions were often barren but were extremely attractive because of their expanse, immensity, monumentality and unbridled character.

His perception of the expansive landscape and the resulting impressions influenced him strongly and gave him qualities such as durability, eternity and calm.
America is the continent where Jan Beekman experienced different values, scales and dimensions.
These are the various aspects which Beekman has tried to sublimate in his work after long process of reflection. Inspired by the wisdom of the Indians whereby man is part of nature, Jan Beekman creates works which are not a mere reproduction of interpretation of nature. Each work is a continuation of nature as far as material and colour are concerned. spiritual sublimation is the ongoing theme.

The endless expanse of the landscape

In large paintings the endless expanse of the landscape coincides with minute details of vegetation and mineral life. The underlying hidden powers as they can be found in the elements of nature are interwoven.
Liveliness is the driving power of the underlying structure, of the microcosmos and the earth which he reproduces in a refined manner on his canvass. His works works are a subtle interaction of pictorial values and the use of mixed media. The artist, Jan Beekman, employs a highly developed fundamental technique whereby innumerable strokes of paint and touches of colour are applied adjacent and above each other to create a dense structure.

This individual form of abstract lyricism reveals Beekman’s fascination with the geographical, the geological and the topographical aspects of the American landscape. However, behind the carefully applied strokes of paint which are very suggestive, one discovers emotional poetry. The colour is an expressive element and constitutes a meditative relationship with the object in nature. The colour is mere reference to the American nature, the diversity and the varying wealth of colours in the American landscape : Green refers to the vegetation, the woods, the forests, the trees; blue is the colour of the sky; red suggest the valleys, the hills and the slopes of landscapes in the South West.

Willy Van Den Bussche
Chief Curator
Museum of Modern Art, Ostend.

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