Home Magazine The depiction of an uncomfortable truth by Ellen De Meijer

According to the artist, we are primitive beings, trapped by the confines of societal expectations. As an expression of the society’s struggles and lies, Ellen De Meijer paints portraits of modern-day archetypes, who represent both aggressor and victim.

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Ellen De Meijer is a post-war contemporary artist, who comes from Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
She started her artistic career in the realm of photography, which can be considered as the most direct form to capture an image of the outside and inside world. From this experience in commercial photography, she started to feel the necessity to express more than a picture, representing and giving a complete image of the realm around us, the world of the seen and the unseen.

When she was 28 years old, she decided to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tilburg (the Netherlands), becoming fascinated by paint and all its techniques, until she founded her School of Art. With her constant goal to create her own, ultimate complete image, in her paintings she started to create universal archetypes, who seem helpless and lost, in order to represent a pervasive social behavior. She is interest in how the society has changed along the years, confronting the viewer with an uncomfortable truth, which defines modern life. Moreover, her artworks are a depiction of harmful social structures and conventions, to which all the people seem to adhere to.

Concerning her recurring themes, as status and power, loss of emotion and authenticity, innocence, resistance, climate change, consumerism, competition, technology, and material wealth, she creates character stereotypes, who represent everyday people. According to De Meijer, human beings are primitive being, who have not evolved, because they are limited by their physical bodies and trapped by the confines of societal expectations. These archetypes appear harsh, egocentric and Darwinist in her paintings, and they represent simultaneously present-day heroes and victims, conveying the separation from the true inner nature of mankind. Additionally, they generate a deep compassion to the viewer, due to their trademark small mouths, which remind of adorable and childlike children.

Ellen De Meijer’s characters seem to be empty souls and children are portrayed as victims, showing a subtle dissatisfaction in their eyes and blaming their own parents for the world they have inherited. In general, the human beings represented are often dressed in too-tight tailor made-outfit, featured by the adoption of conforming, cattle-like behavior to avoid conflict or discomfort.

The sad reality that Ellen De Meijer depicts is due to the rudimental beliefs of the humankind in power and material possessions, coupled with the lack of accountability from the society. She also gave a name to the pervasive social behavior which plagues our society, calling it Kitsch, which is linked to evidences of wealth, consumerism and the importance of status and possessions among people.

Cover Image: Ellen de Meijer. Weekend Love. Courtesy of Unix Gallery

Written by: Kooness

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