Like a dedicated journalist taking clippings from reality, Johannes van Vugt paints snapshots--autobiographical, art-historical, or of current events. His subject matter in 'On the Edge' focuses mainly on children contemplating the beginnings of adulthood. They display the whole gamut of emotions from euphoric and carefree to melancholic and solitary.

His paintings are scenes from daily life, based on his own memories, and their cinematic quality is enhanced by their presentation, as if leafing through a photo album. Apart from the subject matter, direct contact with the paint and canvas together with the drive to experiment are essential to Van Vugt. His palette remains subdued--dark tones or occasional black and white works -- and his eye for capturing light reinforces the filmic effect.

His innocent and sometimes provocative images, as personal and private as they often are, leave an indelible impression in their appeal to our collective memory. Johannes van Vugt continues to build on his already impressive oeuvre, attested to by the great variety of collectors of his work in the Netherlands and abroad.



Amsterdam 2014




As many things have the ability to call back memories in general, photographs from times long past possess that feature specificly as they speak to ones imagination in a very direct way.
Johannes Van Vugt searches for memories in his own past and uses photographs as inspiration for his paintings to accomplish this. With his painting it seems Johannes Van Vugt intends to get a grip on the changes of the past.
Some of his paintings express the sorrow of saying farewell, the pain of war and death, others express delight and joy, but all express desire as if time has healed the wounds. Johannes Van Vugt has created his own archive by painting his pictures as if they were postcards from the past: the small and serial set up create a cinematographic character. Part of the pictures relate to photographs of his personal world whereas other pictures make use of other people's photographs and only relate indirectly with his personal life. This is what makes the series also part of a collective memory. Johannes Van Vugt tells narratives with his paintings. This reminds one of a storyboard for a movie or a timeline for a script.
Also other New European painters have created this type of cinematographic archives where the artist is engaged with questions of memory, trauma, light and beauty. As Johannes Van Vugt's work is painted in color as well as black and white, this last color in the series have an Ingmar Bergman like effect and loneliness is emphasized.


Rob Perree

New York 2012