Marinus A. Boekelman:
Figurative, Portrait and Landscape Artist, Been painting for over 20 years in South Korea, China, Canada and France where he worked as a teacher. He is a self taught artist but later studied at Paris College of Art 2014 and graduated from OCAD University, BFA 2017 in painting and drawing.
He graduated from St Hubertus Hotel School in Amsterdam. Subsequently he studied Applied Linguistics at McQuerrie University, Sydney, Australia. Marinus holds degrees from York University, MA, 1974 and University of Toronto, PhD, 1981 in Political Science and Queen’s University BEd., 1996
He was born during WWII in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in a working class neighbourhood called “De Pijp”. His Aunt was a war bride and sponsored him to seek a better life in Canada in 1963 at the of age 19. Marinus and his 2 younger sisters were raised by their Austrian born mother when his father died in 1947 at age 38, when he was 4 and his Austrian mother was 26. He grew up in poverty, depended on rudimentary social assistance and Charity from the St. Paul Society. At a young age he stood in line at the local Catholic Hospital food bank for his family’s breakfast and dinner throughout his primary and secondary school years both before and after school.
His work reflects his background and challenges conventions of colour theory, and perspective in figure and portrait painting, but the “imperfections” define a style that is not generic and can easily be identified in a crowded field. He takes liberties with values, lighting and contrast and often mixes paint right on the canvas with multiple tints on his brush. His painting process and brush strokes, if not chaotic is unstructured, unplanned and unpredictable. He dives right into painting his subject, not knowing what the outcome will be.
The 12 portraits in the Face to Face series were painted on site at The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation of guests and volunteers who donated their time to pose for this fundraising initiative while Marinus was an artist in residence during the summer and fall of 2018.
Portrait paintings have historically depicted the Aristocracy, the powerful, and the rich and famous. Today this tradition survives in Corporate head offices and hospitals who commission prominent artists to glorify for posterity their status and privilege. The more things change the more they stay the same the French would say.
Marinus however has been inspired by contrarian artists like Alice Neel, Lucienne Freud, Kehindy Wiley Chantal Jeffe and others who have turned this tradition on its head giving a face to the faceless who would otherwise remain faceless and invisible. Stylistically, Marinus and most of the artists that inspire him draw upon the tradition of German expressionism in vogue in the First World era and pre WWGermany. During the Nazi regime this avant-garde socially aware and subversive school of painting was condemned as degenerate art. Many works survived and and are now part of the collections of the most prestigious museums and art collections in the world.