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19.03 -
Jackson Fine Art
Solo exhibition: Inventing Van Gogh & Landscapes

Jackson Fine Art is excited to present Ruud van Empel’s Inventing Van Gogh & Landscapes.

Ruud van Empel has reinvented Van Gogh’s portrait. Nobody knows exactly what Van Gogh really looked like as an adult as there are no portrait photos of him after his 19th birthday. We base our idea of his appearance mainly on his painted self-portraits, which differ greatly from one another. Van Empel has attempted to reconstruct Van Gogh’s portrait based on photographs of various look-a-likes. He used the nose and ears of one, the eyes and hair of another. He has placed the parts on well-known self-portraits by Van Gogh. He uses no paint, but only digital photos which he combines to create a fully formed vision. For those who don’t know any better, you might think that unknown photos of Van Gogh have resurfaced. He has situated the new Vincents in scenes that recall places in his life, such as the Borinage, Provènce and his studio. Van Empel also produced a series of photographic works based on landscapes and floral still lifes by Van Gogh. They remind us of the region of Brabant where both Van Gogh and Van Empel grew up and demonstrate the photographer’s strong affinity with Van Gogh. Also on view are selections from the artist’s additional landscape series, demonstrating his prowess in digitally combining found natural elements into fantastical surreal scenes, transporting us to a new land.

About Ruud van Empel
Ruud van Empel was (born in Breda, Netherlands, 1958) studied at the St. Joost Academy of Art, graduating in 1981. He is known for his intricate collage process, often merging a number of images through photo editing software and other digital approaches. His work blends Surrealism with classic Western portraiture, resulting in pictures that are both dreamlike and familiar. An early career in graphic design as well as designing for theater productions and television informed his approach to photography, greatly focused on technology’s influence on the modern world. His series World Moon Venus published in conjunction with an exhibit at the Museum Het Valkhom, Nijmegen in 2006. The book was considered an international breakthrough, diverting from Ruud van Empel’s more dreamlike-inspired work to more detail-oriented classic forms. He is the recipient of many awards, including the St. Joost Prize (1981), Charlotte Köhlerprize (1993), H.N. Werkmanprize (2001), Municipality of Breda Oeuvre-prize (2013) and 2017 Artist of the Year/American Friends of Museums in Israel-NYC (2017). Ruud van Empel has had works appear in museums and galleries throughout the Netherlands as well as Tel Aviv Museum, Sir Elton John Photography Collection and Arne Zimmerman Collection, among others. He has previously been exhibited at Jackson Fine Art in 2014 and 2017.