Reinoud van Vught


1960 born in Goirle, Netherlands
1979 – 1984 Academie St. Joost, Breda

lives and works in Goirle, Netherlands


Reinoud van Vught’s interest is in creation. For him, painting is a universe that develops in parallel with nature and follows very similar principles. Like a flower comes from a seed, a painting can spring from a single color spot. This is most evident in his gouaches, which show nature motifs in the process of their development. The flow of this process is palpable; you can feel the dynamics of something that grows, that seeks its own path, and that dodges obstacles like a meandering river. At the same time, one will admit that the motives do not seem completely natural. They look like creatures – living ones, but not necessarily like real plants or real animals, more like mutations.
It is undoubtedly the beauty that drives van Vught – these watercolours can only come from a person who believes in life. But the artist is also interested in gloomy scenarios: What happens when life on Earth ends? What could life look like after a nuclear disaster? Again and again van Vught imagines growth after the hour zero.
In his paintings on canvas, the figurative elements are less pronounced. In their colourfulness, these works suggest a closeness to landscapes or convey the feeling that the motifs originated from a natural environment. The forms develop more abstractly and geometrically and manifest themselves through layers of paint and overpainted areas. While the gouaches seem airy and almost casual, the paintings create closed and controlled spaces. But they are bright, cheerful, expressive – and revel in the surface of things.
During a visit to van Vught’s studio, the artist showed me some smaller paintings with horizontal layers, each with different color patterns. To me, these paintings seemed like a play with geometric shapes and at the same time like an abstract landscape with a horizon. Van Vught took one of the paintings off the wall and turned it upside down, and the viewer now showed a new landscape – a different landscape, but with the same horizontal structure. On the one hand, it shows the grandeur of the works; on the other hand, this shows what the artist’s research is all about: it is about the creation of a painterly surface that is in suspense with an illusional space. And it is about creating life forms that gain their strength from the tension with nature. Or, in the artist’s words: “I don’t paint flowers or plants, they just look like that. They are not daffodils or roses, but they are meant to work like this.” It is the basic principle of nature – the process of birth, growth, flowering, and death – inherent in each of these works. Depicting naturalistic motifs is not the intent.
Jurriaan Benschop