Vince is not an artist of preconceived concepts and sketchbooks full of experiments. He begins a work when he feels the need for it and lets it form associatively or intuitively.
Rob Perrée on Vince’s new work.
CIRCLES OF FREEDOM
Thirteen years ago, Vince showed work at Amsterdam’s Gallery 23. They were expressionistically painted portraits of famous people. They were applied to a background of geometric motifs. The use of color was striking. With this he lifted the works out of the flat reality and created the impression that the colors gave substance to the ‘models’. He gave them personality. Possibly in this way he also colored his own Caribbean origins.
Now he returns to Gallery 23. With, at first glance, different work.
Vince (1970, artist name for Vincent Jong Tjien Fa) ) was born in Suriname to a Chinese father and a mother from St. Maarten. He went to school in Curaçao. He moved to the Netherlands to study medicine. He became a practicing general practitioner. That does not seem a logical choice for someone who also wants to make art. Yet there is less distance between the two professions than one might think as an outsider. They complement each other, they need each other. The sought-after balance demands it.
The work he made before 2010 was still largely abstract. Then it gave way to paintings in which people play the leading role. Just as they are central to his medical practice. Those expressionistic portraits of famous people (e.g. Martin Luther King) or people he knows (his commissioned portraits) have in recent years had to make way for abstracted heads, circles in which piercing eyes stare at the viewer, the whole applied on a background of geometric shapes that stimulate the imagination, but which cannot be explained. Most of the canvases are multicolored. “What do you want, I grew up in the Caribbean.” Because he often applies more heads behind and on top of each other, as if they can move freely in space, he seems to play with abstraction. He also achieves this by creating four-panel portraits that can be presented both vertically and horizontally. While in his early portraits he tried to give substance to colors, in his current work they seem to act as mood makers. They make merry, they evoke surprise or menace.
Vince is not an artist of preconceived concepts and sketchbooks full of experiments. He begins a work when he feels the need for it and lets it form associatively or intuitively. That most of his paintings have no title or only a random word tucked away, somewhere, in a corner of the canvas, is not surprising. He is not concerned with the administration of art.
The exhibition features a few vertical works that may foreshadow new developments. These show the human figure in full, but surrounded and besieged by salad-oil-dripping-like forms. The colors are more restrained. It seems as if content demands attention, at the expense of form.
Absolute freedom is one of the symbolic meanings of the circle. Vince’s erratic career could be an illustration of this. He is not guided in his work by artistic codes or presuppositions. He paints, as has been said, when he feels like it, his style and his subjects gradually imposing themselves on him. He leaves it up to the viewer what he sees and how he interprets it. He also grants the viewer her or his absolute freedom.
October 20, 2023