On Saturday, June 2nd, Vertical Gallery in Chicago presented Collin van der Sluijs' solo exhibition No Concessions. Returning to the gallery after his sold-out debut in 2016, the Dutch artist showed an all-new collection of large-scale paintings and smaller drawings on paper.
We had the chance to visit Collin's studio in Maastricht a couple of months ago to see the works coming to life at the early stage. One thing that instantly stood out was the variety of influences and visual languages applied to them. From sketch-like markings, comic influenced elements, graphic elements borrowed from popular culture, all the way to masterfully painted oil sections referencing familiar themes from historical and classic art. With a long history of involvement in the graffiti subculture of The Netherlands, Van Der Sluijs graduated from the Academy of Art and Design: St. Joost in Breda in 2004 with a Master’s degree in fine art. And the consequence of those 2 worlds colliding can be noticed in his work on different levels.
Mixing drips, crude white lines, spray paint and collages with his highly saturated, gritty urban color palette, he creates a vibrant aesthetic through which he guides us through his narrative. Simultaneously, he approaches the creative process with intuitive, non-mediated communication between the brush and the surface, using professionally trained painterly techniques. The results are complex and rich images that reflect the artist's daily observations, personal pleasures and struggles, rendered with captivating hues and visual elements. Done through a fantastical filter in which the key players can transform shapes and roles, his often surrealist compositions are dream-like depictions of everyday stories.
Photo and text by Sasha Bogojev