ATELIER GALERIE LEO DE JONG
Some fragments of remarks by Art Critics
"The method is only the means. the motive forms the peg onto which he hangs his emotions. It may be obvious that Leo de Jong doesn't attempt to portray any visual reality. The intensity of his work hints at the onderlying forces governing life itself.
Leo Duppen, director "Cobra Museum" (The Netherlands)
Each painting of Leo de Jong is a fresch start, unhindered by forced preconceptions restricting his creativity and hampering his imaginative play. The painting comes as surprise, as an inpredictable adventure. They are creations of the moment. But no matter how intuitive and associative this procedure may be, his work shows a great consistensy, an accurate structure and a well balanced attention for tone and rhythm. He always manages to succesfully walk the tightrope between tension and dissolution. He keeps challenging himself and finding new ways. And every new way he imprints with his personal pictoral hallmark.
Marion Busch, Art Historica, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (The Netherlands)
Looking at the art works of Leo de Jong is not without risk. Most people are stuck in perceptual routines navigating behaviour towards more of the same orientations on life.
His works crush these routines.
The search is not ìeventsî but the underlying structures governing these events. Being an ìevent-drivenî artist, he turns viewpoints simply inside out. We fortunately donít need some ethical by-pass operation just to appreciate some distant message. No cosmetic makeovers to transform a mediocre idea into e brilliant one. Itís quality-time with Leo de Jong !
In his action-paintings he builds up images, layer upon layer, submerging the viewer and ever so gently making him or her resurface with perhaps a more unified view on life. His surface-structures form perfect interfaces for reflecting upon the intricacies of human communication. He coaxes the viewer into wondering what viewpoints are at his or her disposition. In the artistís works itís not this or ìnotî this, all intermediate values come into play.
Structures of splashing polychromy interchange with subdued images: tension and resolution. Here we find ourselves in the company of a passionate man jazzing it up in places where cultural inertia has set in.
At intervals he produces so called ìgroup stillsî of human figures in an abstract context. Are they members of a group or anonymous figures meeting at-random in the twilight-zone of the conscious/unconscious?
Are they perhaps giving access to missions in life creating social realities or simply zombies reminding us of our nature?
But de Jong gives partial answers. They are not attitudinarians. He makes a clear distinction between pose and attitude, hitting upon core-values of human endeavour.
His refined skills make him a precursor in spite of to-dayís multimedia world. He fits in and at the same time fits nowhere with art conventions being the intuitionist he IS.
Some of his works transfer the accent to the off-beat of the unseen attaining swinging syncopations of Jazz.
Leo is the matador among artists. When he enters his arena all beings are happier knowing that in his tauromachy there are only winners.
Nick Boer, Author, Rotterdam
"Schillernd, rauh, tiefgründig die Werke von Leo de Jong
The collages, are built layer upon layer to almost relief-like dimensions.
Sandy structures, partially scratched up and covered by paper express tensions between the breaking up of the material and its recovering.
Tension and resolution are expressed in the use of colours and the composition of powerful planes. Old paper and earth colours are reminiscent of nature and its metamorphoses. Even the scribblings like graffiti in the paintings seem archaic and unreadable. Leo de Jong scratches up his messages.
There seems to be a secret to which the spectator is not allowed to.
On the one hand spontaneous and on the other hand well reflected upon in its construction,the 'Staircase' consists of small rollers of papers as if ascending towards a black port.
Here the artist from Rotterdam comes close to essence without being too emphatic.
Even 'The Gestalten' entirely figurative borrow from their complementary character colourful brims and techniques of collage their seemingly accidental abstraction. Leo imparts to his works the sort of titles that convey from the very depth and entire spectrum of emotions to model understanding. Paradoxically so, De Jong's blue 'deep water' sparkles at the surface, rough, full of tension and intuition on the inside.
The "Münchener Merkuri", München, fragment
"His house was packed to the very roof with paintings"
The corridors were crammed, the walls were crammed, his works were hanging and standing all over the place. Large vigorous canvases, on first sight showing abstract compositions, naive portraits and frail figurines. From the very first his works made me inkle the wings of inspiration. It was not just the multitude that overwhelmed me. More so the self - evident interplay of forces. His paintings not only contain paint. It looks like he picks up anything he comes across in order to enhance the mood of his pictorial fancies: pieces of paper or string, cardboard, broken sticks, discarded garments, shards, corroded metal and what not. The layers of paint were applied partly in thin translucent patches, partly in thick blobs and vivid lines.
This technique classifies Leo de Jong as a material artist, led by his intuitive recycling of things others discarded. When asked what his work represents his first answer will be: NOTHING. Most of his work
therefore goes `untitled'. When urged to explain his work, if anything he'll mutter whimsical, almost zen-like phrases full of hidden paradox:
Need little; Need the silent void.
The hurricane will form around its eye.
Despite the wide variety in form and subject matter one may discern a common denominator: Leo de Jong instills a soul to whatever his hart makes him do. And the pleasure he finds is his guideline.
Jan M. de Grauw, Palet Magazine
"Abstract play with the old Masters"
Leo de Jong works in an unconventional way jazzing it up more than applying the traditional pictorial techniques.
The sequential moulding up of a number of panels and canvasses during a period of time produces a coherent overview, in spite of the seemingly chaotic procedure.
Taking into account that images are left out partially, one could say that his works make you think of the old Dutch Master painters, as to his playing with light and detached arrangements. His paintings are mostly abstract and very contemporary.
Süddeutsche Zeitung (fragment), Ingrid Zimmermann
Performances of Leo de Jong
The music of Leo de Jong"
Painters are solitaries. They retreat in their studios. They set up the canvas, put some paint on it, wipe it off, curse, tear at their beards, pray to God and the Devil and even when the painting is finished, there is still a strong doubt in their souls. Maybe there are painters who paint - while singing a naughty song - in all care-freelesness an in advantage fully elaborated idea. We don't know. Because we are never allowed to be there. During working hours the studio is closed. We just may admire the result.
But there is a painter who has the courage to paint for a live audience in a public room.
The performances of Leo de Jong give us a unique posibility to see anything of how an artist makes decisions. In this case it happens under special circumstances: Leo makes a painting with live music. He works with different musicians, but he likes jazz-musicians the most. He has a broad taste, but this type of players he understands. He admires them and loves them, because they are similar to him. This admiration and love is likewise.
There is nothingness and it asks to be filled, but in advantage there was no idea how. When the music starts, a short while Leo is listening. Very soon he makes the first wipes on the canvas. Lines and surfaces are following. Sometimes figurative, sometimes abstract. Maybe it depends on the music. We see that he, like an improvising musician, makes his decisions instantaneously. The canvas is larger than himself, but he rules the surface completely. He moves like a dancer. He is using brushes, sponges, knives, cloths. We cannot see any doubt in his eyes. His selfconfidence is mirrored by the music. On his turn he inspires the musicians.
Then he rests a while. He looks at the paintings and sees that all is good. He writes his signature. We have seen it all, but never we will understand. We still know nothing, but we were at a performance of something very special. We were eyewitnesses of the making of an artwork.
Eloy BGM Everwijn, Author, Rotterdam