The works of Marjolijn de Wit appear like vivid puzzles asking to be solved. Often composed from a random mixture of various elements of flora and fauna such as leaves, birds, or flower petals, De Wit disturbs their hierarchy by adding human made objects, abstract painterly shapes, and playing with size, scale and composition that resembles the technique of collage.
Throughout the rich canvasses, every object and element together resembles the act of a (future) archaeology, challenging the spectator to speculate on the relationship between all parts of the paintings. Unrelated objects appear as debris of a story that has yet to take place, even if it is only in the mind of the spectator entirely. They are the rubble of our society, in which nature is ever so often disrupted by the human urge to control it, and of which De Wit’s works provide a frame for the spectator to constantly find new narratives.
Distinctive to the practice of De Wit is her use of contemporary signifiers; photographs, records, or pieces that resemble (torn) drawings continuously refer to forms of human creation and the existence of culture as oppositional to the wilderness of nature. Also in her techniques and use of painterly materials De Wit finds balance between aptly directed structures and the freedom of painting. Deliberately anti-aesthetic at times, she often works in a wet-on-wet technique that gives her work a true painterly atmosphere and that echoes the joy she finds in the act of making. What remains, in the end, for the spectator, is the continuously tantalising question of what the narrative of your history will read like, and the challenge to keep solving the puzzle of everything De Wit presents us in her vibrant paintings.
Marjolijn de Wit (1979, NL) lives and works in Utrecht. She graduated from the Academy of Art and Design St. Joost in Breda and from 2008 – 2009 she was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Her museum exhibitions include Torrance Art Museum, Torrance (CA), the De Pont Museum, Tilburg (NL), the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (NL). She has had solo exhibitions at several galeries including Otto Zoo Gallery, Milan (IT) and Asya Geisberg Gallery, New York (US). In 2013 she earned the PULSE Prize, a jury-awarded grant.
(Text by: Menno Vuister)