Large abstract paintings for sale of Dutch artist duo BenFo. We paint colorful contemporary and happy abstract expressionism. For sale and shipping worldwide. We usually paint in clear and fresh colors our large acrylic dynamic paintings on canvas.
Dutch painter-duo Ben-Fo: Ben Vollers & Fons Heijnsbroek
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Large colorful abstract
art for sale
by artist duo BenFo
fresh big abstract art
colorful & happy paintings
In 2006 we, Ben Vollers and Fons Heijnsbroek (=Benfo), started to paint together: same spot, same moment, making paintings on the same canvas. See for our recent paintings:
What started in 2006 as a one-stand afternoon performance grew out into a rather unusual but intense dialogue in painting between us, two Dutch abstract painters. We already knew each other for 15 years very well; discussed our personal art frequently and we had many expositions together since then. But painting together is another kind of thing; it is a very unusual and strange thing to fuse two individual forces and pretend to make so a piece of art which stands. Yet we started this adventure and during 2007-2009 we painted 30 large and positive paintings together, meanwhile developing a lot of mutual confidence and freedom during the common painting practice.
We paint both abstract and expressive in our own art, and we both like to use our spontaneous visual impulses taking shape into the painting. This is the basic ground in our cooperation. We both love abstract expressionistic painting and discuss a lot the work of former painters who gave shape to this fascinating area of happy and positive painting. We also share our love for the city Amsterdam, the old city, as well as the modern visual dynamic. And perhaps it is not by chance that we both love strongly jazz: it is the music which is also created spontaneously in improvisation.
Creating unpredictable positive paintings
We want to incorporate in our art the unknown, the not preconceived, the not predictable. There lies the significance of working togehther like jamming in paint; one is unpredictable for the other during the common painting-act. In a mutual sense one means the unknown for the other. Every moment in the painting process the development of the painting is uncertain because of this ‘other one’, this 'not-me', who is allowed to change the whole painting, if he ‘sees’ it necessary. We accept that we need the other so strongly to disturb ourself, to be able to make something New and unexpected. Sowe are dependent on each other, where painting itself is the language-in-images to communicate: to ask for or to define, to make statements or withdraw them, to argue, to destroy or to affirm. The so developed image is just getting a definite visible face when we both on a certain moment agree, the painting is finished.
In Avallon, Bourgogne, France we showed in April and May 2009 a selection of 25 paintings we made together during the last three years. That was only 50 % of of the exposition!. The other half was that we painted together in and during the exposition in a public atelier in the St Pierre church. We painted together a collection of 15 new paintings, with as ‘motif’ the river Le Cousin, and its borders. We experienced ourselves painting in a broader and older tradition, as Sam Francis and Joan Mitchell did for instance in the 1950's; they did happy and positive abstract-expressionism painting; they were very much fascinated by the Water lilies paintings of Monet, and so they travelled to France to experience these Monet's works in the flesh and in the French climate.
We are Dutch painters and very familiar with the Dutch humid atmosphere and natural light. The river Le Cousin gave us adouble landscape because its water reflects the borders and the overhanging trees. And the sounds of the flowing water was everywhere in our ears, the sound of energy. It was a thoroughly deep inspiration to us. Not naturalistic, but more in its rhytm and its resonance, as underlying energy for creating energic and happy paintings.
Interview with Dutch artist-duo BenFo
by Jean Homacher
* There is a great similarity between you two painting together and jam sessions in Jazz. Is that what you are doing when you paint together- spontaneous jazz in paint?
What we do is improvise on one canvas: not particularly on an existing theme, and not one at a time, but together, on the spot, we continuously react to one another with brush and paint. We do not have a concept beforehand, no theme; we start totally blanco. But, we do have one another’s input to react to. For instance, Ben makes a line and Fons takes it further, or puts down another line or changes the colour etc. Apparently we understand each other’s way of working. Jam sessions in Jazz are very much here and now, reacting on the spot, the question, the answer; that’s very similar to what we do with paint. One starts an idea and the other can react.
* Jazz musicians often have a standard as the basis for a jam session, what about you two?
We’ve got all sorts of stuff in our heads, amongst other things the art of painting and the images of that. In that way we are also similar to Jazz musicians jamming. They use previous jazz. They improvise on an already existing, well known number, a standard, that every well versed jazz musician knows. In the same way we are familiar with abstract expressionism, but also with painting expressively and landscapes, we write and talk about the art of painting without turning it into a concept!!! What are our standards? Well, not only the famous toppers within abstract expressionism. But we have them in mind. But also the city, the light, Van Gogh, Soutine, Ruysdael, Corot, Guston etc.
* What do you have in common in painting?
Something we have in common in our individual painting is that neither of us make a preliminary sketch. We both paint directly onto canvas/paper and react to that whilst painting. When we work together as Benfo, we offer one another images that the other can react to in an associative way. We both experience that this way things happen on canvas that we would never have made individually. The other is necessary in order to extract yourself from individual shortcomings in your own imagery. It can only be done in acrylic paint, a paint that is direct and dries quickly, so can be painted over easily.
* What aspects are of great importance in the process of painting together?
Apart from the spontaneity and the interaction to one another, there is the aspect of consciously constructing and destructing and consideration/thought. Considering whether the painting will make it, whether it will meet the promise of possibilities or intentions. At that moment we both feel that something is possible, that the painting could turn out well, but we’re not there yet! It’s the moment the painting tells us something and, it’s up to us both to understand. The painting has it’s own life, it has come to life through us and now it demands that we do this or that. Often, we have to let it go for a bit – distance ourselves in order to recognize the question. We both know there is a moment when we have to paint carefully, with consideration. The phase of associative painting, wildly, is over - which is by the way just as important. Our painting is a construction, in the sense that there must be cohesion and the various parts must work towards a whole. A structure, let’s say architecture, balance, contrast. In between all that is our freedom; but the final painting must be more than that. Otherwise it’s a failure.
* What does Ben do that Fons would never do?
Ben puts down areas/space, almost automatically. Fons nearly always starts with a construction in lines. Ben paints his spaces/areas with strokes, mainly in white or black, with further strokes so they don’t cover the canvas completely; his lines are often zigzag. Fons’ lines are often flowing and more organic. He often puts coloured layers over something already present, so the colour of that particular area is changed. Fons uses the colours yellow/green/violet/purple more often and Ben more often uses black/sienna but also yellow, dark blue and often lots and lots of red. But all that was six months ago and is probably old hat. In that respect we consume one another!
* What about trust between you two in the process of painting?
Painting Benfo paintings can only be done because there is mutual trust. Both in the ability in the art of painting as in the judgement. We also know that the ‘one’ is always trying to paint out the other, or trying to dominate in some way. There is a dynamic equality of input. There is also the trust that when ‘one’ reaches an impasse he can let the ‘other’ carry on to keep the process moving, to pull us both our of the impasse.
There is also mutual trust that the ‘other’ watches and continues to work together and make keen judgments. Of course we’ve know one another’s individual work for years – which gives us a good basis.
* What are your criteria for a painting to be a success or not?
We each have the conviction that a painting should be more than pleasing or nicely painted. We both see that we want to go further. There is no embarrassment between us when trying out something unusual; we can put down something impulsively without worrying about what the other thinks of it. There has to be some risk, otherwise the painting would be a failure for us anyway.
* What is your position in present day abstract painting?
A great deal of what we see around us makes us think that abstract painting is too slick, with too much emphasis on a ‘pleasing’ abstract painting. We are on the wilder side of abstract painting. It seems that we think that an interesting painting can’t be slick. As a viewer you have to make an effort to get into the painting, plough your way through. On the other hand, we offer a painting that one can actually get into with one’s eyes; we are offering a serious visual image. A slick painting excludes; there is no opening, no entrance. We want a painting to have its own ‘inside’. That’s what we mean by a painting being finished; there must be an ‘inside’ apparent in the painting; the painting has the right to existence because it gives visual form to that ‘inside’.
* What, from life itself, influences you both?
We are both passionate city people. We see the modern phenomena of the city; adverts, light reflections, transparency; but also the underground (metro) building, modern building constructions, people packed together. We don’t live in a world city, Amsterdam is small and has an old city centre with an old structure, where we both live. So, Amsterdam has both old and new, the city changes through different time layers. That fact fascinates us both, we feel our connection through that. We both accept without doubt that the city is an organism, continually changing and innovating. We both enjoy the ensuing expression of this. From art painting point of view it is impossible to see all the phenomena and put them I a painting, giving them a second visual existence. That’s our naturalistic side; we put real phenomena and impressions in our paintings.
There is also Amsterdam light in our paintings. We don’t just slide past one another in our choice of colour, even though there are differences. We both are attached to atmosphere; so together we love Dutch and atmospeheric painting. We went to see an exhibition of work by Dutch impressionist Jacob Maris in Teylers museum five years ago, and years later to an exhibition of work by another Dutch impressionist, Mastenbroek, who painted Rotterdam harbour with its steam and smoke. We value Willem de Kooning’s impressionism!
Jean Homacher, 2009