Winners vBvD Prize

Up until now, the Van Bommel Van Dam Prize has been awarded to the following artists: 

Marijn Akkermans - The middle place (2009-2010)

2010 – Marijn Akkermans
The always black and white works on paper by Marijn Akkermans (Nijmegen, 1975) are populated by archetypical men and women, sometimes in the company of children, dogs or teddy bears. The picture of happy family life is ridiculed. Father is wearing a suit or overalls with a spade, mother wears wide dresses and has a washing-up brush in her hand. The works exude an uneasy atmosphere. The characters are very often in a compromising or threatening position with regard to each other. Sometimes, there is aggression. A child is clasped like prey, or thoughtlessly discarded. All the while, the viewer is watched closely with an ominous, almost animal-like stare. The jury believes that Akkermans’ drawings distinguish themselves both thematically in  method and content from the other nominees’. From the jury report: “His visual language never degenerates to stereotypes and is characterised by the psychological tension between the figures he depicts. The work is figurative, but is thoroughly aware of all sorts of achievements that belong to an abstract working method.”

Jack Reubsaet - Spice of life (2007)

2007 – Jack Reubsaet
The winner of the Van Bommel Van Dam Prize 2007 (thirteenth edition) is Jack Reubsaet (Sittard,1976). According to the jury, the continually gnawing monumental installation in mixed media is a work that entrances the viewer. A tremendous flow of images, partly loaned from art history, advertising, pulp television, pop music, porn culture, (animation) films and comic strips that continuously pose questions to the viewers. Impudent art where Eros and Thanatos heatedly battle for precedence. “I attempt to contrast the temporariness with timelessness. The temporariness is the form, the timelessness is the content.” (Jack Reubsaet)

Sidi El Karchi - De acteur (zelfportret met gele strohoed) (2004)

2004 – Sidi El Karchi
In 2004, Sidi El Karchi (Sittard, 1975) won the twelfth Van Bommel Van Dam Prize with the painting The actor (self portrait with yellow straw hat). El Karchi only paints portraits of himself and people in his immediate surroundings. The portrait photography in his parents’ country of origin, Morocco, is a significant source of inspiration for him. His works have a graphic value and combine abstract and realism in a very individual manner. The emphatically present objects often have a symbolic meaning. “In my work, I explore whether or not a portrait can be more than just a representation of the person being portrayed…” (Sidi El Karchi) As already mentioned, photography is the starting point for El Karchi’s work. With his camera, he captures friends and family in an unguarded moment. Then he produces drawings on canvas in acrylic or oil paint. Colour over colour, layer over layer, sometimes as many as thirty times. Light, colour and spatiality are finished to perfection in his work. Well- considered and carefully. Creating light, transparent paintings with a serene, almost religious appearance. The people that Sidi El Karchi portrays rise far above themselves and their daily concerns. They radiate love and refinement in a mystical way. This is how the artist creates paintings with a heavenly lightness, with a personality that could spring to life at any moment.

Sebastian Diaz Morales - The persecution of the white car (videostill) (2001)

2001 – Sebastian Diaz Morales
The audiovisual works by the originally Argentinean artist Sebastian Diaz Morales (Comodoro Rivadavia [Argentina], 1975) have an umbrella-like theme in the way in which they expose the structure of the stories. His videos are strongly influenced by the film industry, but at the same time they alter the narrative form of this medium. Diaz Morales shoots the footage for his films relatively quickly. The reality of the filming remains intact, because he does not often intervene or direct in the filmed word beyond his subject. This allows the artist to preserve the desired direct communication. During editing, the selected film images are brought together and edited into a fictitious story. The stories that Diaz Morales creates play within and beyond our comprehension of reality.

Hjalmar Riemersma - Les danseuses sur la balançoire (1998)

1998 – Hjalmar Riemersma
Photography plays an important role in Hjalmar Riemersma’s work (Leeuwarden, 1970). Photographs inspire the artist: he is continually looking for interesting images that can give reason to paint. The themes he paints vary markedly; from a carousel to children playing in water. Riemersma is fascinated by shades of grey and, with them, he tries to emphasise the relationship between photographs and painted work. During the painting of an image, he attempts to draw the history of the image to himself. Since 2000, he has concentrated almost completely on painting landscapes. He is especially fascinated by mountainous landscapes. The views and layers of the landscape are an important part of Riemersma’s work. In every work, the shades of grey and dark tones and the play of light form the basis for each image. This is still the case, only it is less obtrusive. The choice of colours depends on the expression of the colour balancing the ‘intensity of light’.

Aafke Bennema - Zonder titel (1995)

1995 – Aafke Bennema
Aafke Bennema (Eelde, 1965) became known for her portraits of women. Originally, the women were depicted against a neutral, graphic style, background, later in a landscape context. The landscape has become a main theme in Bennema’s paintings in recent years. The shift from (self)portrait to landscape took place after Bennema had established that the portraits were so dominant, that she was in danger of becoming obsessed by them. The landscapes offer her more freedom to investigate structures. A landscape has, in contrast to a face, no hierarchy and no fixed composition. In the often virtual or absurd representations of nature, Bennema can infinitely vary forms and structures. Aafke Bennema’s paintings are very large. As a result, they almost completely fill the viewer’s field of vision. The elements in the paintings are reduced to decorative forms with thick contours in pastel colours. They form an image that sucks you in, even though they are an emphatically flat surface. This equivocal contradiction occurs due, on the one hand, to the nuances of colour that create an effect of depth and, on the other hand, the structures form graphical patterns without shadows. Preventing a single form in the depiction from demanding specific attention.

Noud van Dun - Zonder titel (1992)

1992 – Noud van Dun
Noud van Dun (Venlo, 1963) won the eighth Van Bommel Van Dam Prize in 1992. In 2004, the museum purchased a second work, First Contact, followed by Crime Scene and Mind the Gap in 2010. Together, these works show the development from 1992 to 2008. At the heart of these works lies the fact that they are constructed from contradictions. Combinations of matters that in our daily reality barely appear to have anything in common, but do in fact have a relationship. Van Dun: “My work is about everything. They are fragments from a very complex and infinite network of phenomena that occur in everyone’s lives and of which every individual imagines themselves to be the centre.” We experience most phenomena as normal because they occur in what is, for us, a familiar context. In Van Dun’s work, a shift actually takes place. Things no longer occur in a familiar environment, but are transferred to a different place. Viewers are forced to re-adjust their perspective, look at things from the other side and to let go of the familiar. Van Dun creates a new order that, in the first instance, appears strange but, upon closer inspection, does not essentially differ from what we experience as logical and coherent on a daily basis. However, with the difference that there is an opportunity to delve deeper and penetrate the underlying structures and/or discover cohesion between what we ordinarily consider as contradictory or strange. The shift in meaning creates an openness that provides space for further association and the boundaries of the painting are, as it were, broken down. These boundaries can be seen in many works as a framing and serve to emphasise the fact that each canvas is a fragment of a greater whole. It is down to the viewer to determine to what extent he can think outside the frame, and see the wider context in which it all takes place. The works in black and white draw all the components together, even though they display an antithesis with regard to form or depiction.

1989 – Freark van der Wal
The Frisian painter Freark van der Wal (1955) won the seventh Van Bommel Van Dam Prize in 1989. “We will – even if we do our very best – never discover what something means or if it actually has meaning. This doubt drives him forward: I ask myself to what extent a painting can be a cage for an aura”. (Rudy Hodel, from the catalogue Museum ’t Coopmanshûs, Franeker, July 1997)

1987 – Kries Sommers
The self-taught Kries Sommers (Utrecht, 1961) received the Koninklijke subsidie voor vrije Schilderkunst in 1985 (Royal grant for Fine Painting). In 1987, he won the sixth Van Bommel Van Dam Prize. 

1985 – Toon Teeken
Toon Teeken (Heerlen, 1944) graduated from the Stadsacademie voor Toegepaste Kunsten in Maastricht and, following this, the Jan van Eyckacademie. At his graduation, Toon Teeken was decorated with the prize by Sittard Municipality. In the early 1980’s, Teeken started to paint together with three other artists from Maastricht, Fons Haagmans, Peter Wehrens and Jean Pierre Zoetbrood. This plan did not come about from a presupposed artistic or political opinion, but was purely born of an appreciation for each other’s work and their interest in also not just producing work on a purely individual basis. They wanted to study each other’s visual language and painting habits and, through confronting each other, images came about that would otherwise never have seen the light of day, improving the development of the artists. During this period, Teeken drew the inspiration for his work from his immediate living environment. He said himself: ‘I paint to clarify my relationship with things and the world.’ I consider the tension between figures and objects in a space, whether or not placed in a space shaped by a neat interplay of lines or in a still life. In recent years, Toon Teeken has drawn his inspiration mainly from African landscape.

1983 – Piet Dieleman
Piet Dieleman (Arnemuiden, 1956) attended the MTS for photography in the Hague from 1972 to 1975. Immediately following this, he studied at the Academy for visual arts in Rotterdam until 1980. Back in his place of birth, he worked in an enormous barn on his father’s farm for many years; he now has a studio in Middelburg. As well as painting, Dieleman sculpts. He says that his objects come from his paintings. In his early years as an artist, he made dark, dramatic paintings of landscapes and nudes. He later strove to introduce light and clarity. The window and the play of light became important themes. Dielemans’ paintings are often almost abstract. He is most interested in painting itself, not really in what he wants to depict. The things around him, such as the windows in his studio, are no more than just a reason to reach for a new canvas. In 1981 and 1983, Piet Dieleman received stipends from the Rotterdamse Kunststichting. The province of Zeeland presented him with an Encouragement Prize in 1982. In 1983, Piet Dieleman was the fourth winner of the Van Bommel Van Dam Prize.

1981 – Jan van der Pol
From 1965 until 1969, Jan van der Pol (Aalsmeer, 1949) studied at the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam in the printmaking department. He has great memories of his teachers Henk Boer, Ap Sok and Melle. Towards the end of his course, he followed painting lessons with Melle. Between 1969 and 1971, he was one of Arie Kater’s students at the Rijksakademie. Jan van der Pol paints, draws and makes lithographs, woodcuts and etchings. Characteristic for his work from the beginning of the 1980’s is that attention is drawn towards the top of the canvas by high horizons or standing figures in the landscape, which he derived from photographs by E.J. Muybridge (English photographer, 1830-1904). Following the urban landscapes, especially in 1984, the portrait motif appeared in his work, first as a bust, later also as a head. In his later work, Van der Pol draws in attention through the use of categories. Van der Pol about this compositional dogma: “I love categories. It has always been something that fascinated me. My paintings with series of heads suddenly reminded me of the pages from my father’s butterfly books. Series of insects, sorted by type, neatly arranged. The same kind of order is in my paintings. The categorization of series brings about an ostensibly compositionlessness that I find most agreeable. It gives a sensation of freedom; there is order, but one that does not drive it home.”

1979 – Ronald Tolman
Sculptor, painter and printmaker Ronald Tolman (Amsterdam, 1948) plays a game with ancient themes and current developments. His sculptures and the depictions in his paintings, etchings, drawings and ceramics drift between melancholic observations and sparkling impulsiveness. Figures can be seen in his work, alone or in groups, in search of balance that seems to exist independently of time. Expectant scenes take place in immense spaces, often indicated with just a few sketched lines. His successful picture book ‘De Boomhut’ (the tree house), which he made together with his daughter Marije, was presented with the international Bologna Ragazzi Award 2009, selecting it as the most beautiful picture book in the world. In Belgium, a nomination for the youth literature prize ‘De Gouden Uil’ followed and in the Netherlands ‘De boomhut’ won the  ‘Gouden Penseel’ award.

1977 – Peter Wehrens
Peter Wehrens (Sittard, 1945) completed his studies at the Jan van Eyckacademie in Maastricht in 1972, where his interests were in painting, printmaking and film making. When he graduated, he was awarded a prize by the Municipality of Valkenburg and a scholarship to reside in Madrid. Here, he discovered the great Spanish masters like El Greco, Goya and Velázquez. He subsequently went on many different study trips and his art was influenced by both the registering pop art, and minimal art. In 1977, Peter Wehrens was the first artist to acquire the Van Bommel Van Dam Prize.

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