Apr 10 2021 - Apr 10 2021

Alice de Kruijs, Master of New Age Portraiture

The CAMP Gallery is proud to present Alice de Kruijs, Master of New Age Portraiture.

Portraiture is one of the most fundamental, ancient, and commonly known art forms worldwide. They portray the centrality of the human form to our understanding of the world around us; in fact, the earliest incarnations of portraiture can be taken as far back as 6300 BC, when humans lived in caves and portrayed human figures in various activities that made up their daily lives. Ancient Egyptians hoped to use portraiture to immortalize their visages for the sake of their progeny as well as their spiritual afterlife. Oftentimes, these portraits would be embellished to depict their subjects as greater than they were, be it by exaggerating their physical beauty, their brawn, or by adding animalistic features that associated them with certain deities. Such lineages between portraiture, conceptions of our world, immortality, and grandiosity continued well into the Middle Ages and beyond. Leonardo Da Vinci attempted to make the perfect portrait, with his creation of the Mona Lisa by making her perfectly symmetrical. Napoleon Bonaparte himself was known to have his royal portraits made to exaggerate his physique and appearance to show an image to the french people of their powerful emperor, and not of a rather short, frumpy middle-aged man.

With the dawn of photography, portraiture was democratized to be able to portray any subject. This democratization of portraiture has extended to such a degree that nearly any person living in the 21st century can have a photo of themselves. In the developed western world, people now have a collection of curated photos of themselves that they share with the general public, an idea that would have been unfathomable some mere 150 years ago.

These drastic changes in the world necessitated a change in the way people perceive portraiture as an art form. As such, artists today push the bounds of what it means to portray, going beyond the scope of a face, a body, an outfit, while still using such elements to signify much more than what they are at the surface. Alice de Kruijs is an example of a modern-day portraiture master, pushing these boundaries to expand our view of what portraiture can mean. The essence of her work has a foundation in a natural curiosity that culminates in portraiture rich in color, concept, symbolism and an earnest appreciation for her subjects’ experiences. From documenting ancient ceremonial and artistic traditions in Burkina Faso to celebrating folks in The Netherlands living with Albinism, de Krujis works with an emphasis on the fullness of organic narrative. Although each piece in her stands alone for its respective significance, each of her respective series collectively paints a full striking portrait, one which breathes life into an occasionally stagnant art form. Alice also allows her subjects to speak for themselves, in the sense that her place and subject matter inform her work to such a degree that they each take on a life of their own and a distinctive aesthetic that is simultaneously unmistakably a piece by the artist and a piece of the subject. For this exhibition, The CAMP Gallery has compiled a selection of Alice's works which speak the most to the emotional intelligence she employs in her stylistic choices, the richness of the stories she chooses to tell through her work, and the level of aesthetic beauty she maintains in any of the work she produces.

In the Black and White Project, Alice explores the polarity of light and darkness from its most extreme forms. An example of such extremity is her choice of models, like Xueli, a Chinese Albinism activist.

Alice travels to a remote area of eastern Ethiopia in Planet of the Afar to meet the Afar tribe, an ethnic group that has maintained its traditional way of life and which has survived for generations in some of the toughest, most inhospitable climates on earth. 

In Spiritual Dancers of Burkina Faso, Alice brings to life a culture that is completely distinct from her own. She exploited local ceremonies dedicated to wishing for a prosperous, harvest, healthy animals, and blessings for the community and passed away ancestors. Despite the widespread practice of both Islam and Christianity, these ceremonies have persisted as a staple in Burkinabe culture.

Alice adapts to the limitations of Covid 19 to explore within herself, her family, and the legacy of those that came before her. The resulting series Family Members, a love letter to her grandmother, and a timeline of the life she led, now 100 years after her birth.

Paradise Lost is a series made to warn of the impending demise of numerous Polynesian nations as a result of global warming. As sea levels rise, the ancestral lands and homes of these vastly diverse cultures are being fully inundated, threatening both their ability to live their lives as they have for innumerable years and their very own identities.
For more info on this show, or de Kruij's work in general, please email Mario@thecampgallery.com Artsy Viewing Room here
Date
  • Apr 10 2021 - Apr 10 2021

Curator
  • Mario Andres Rodriguez