Thijs Jansen


The perhaps surprisingly small size of Jansen's panels does not mean the works can be viewed with a cursory glance. On the contrary. The viewer wishing to take in all the details - how the light falls, the perspective, the spatial composition, the motifs or the varied painting techniques - of his precisely created compositions, will have to stop and take their time. "This format is a means of forcing a deeper level of concentration," says the artist.
The everyday nature of the situations depicted reflects the chosen materials: a wooden plank, unframed, slightly uneven. Jansen's former ambition to be a comic-strip artist is often evident; not only in the narrative rendition, but also in the often comic-style images of, for example, the portrait gallery in International Rescue (2010, 25 x 30 cm) or in his striking love of details, as shown in his piquant work De pornohoek ['The porn corner'] (2010, 25 x 30 cm).
Jansen begins with a thick base layer applied with a large brush whereby the paint spills over the edges of the panel, and goes on to build up a complex spatial setting using oil and acrylic paints.
Back in 2009 the brushstrokes are still somewhat transparent and sketchy. Sometimes he uses pencil (Kleedhokjes ['Changing cubicles'], 2009). An ochre background is dimly visible through the uppermost layer of paint, emphasizing the stagelike feeling of the panels. The artist uses tape to help create straight lines and larger planes.
In this way he builds up layers of paint that are minuscule yet solid. In his latest works this results in an almost three-dimensional surface whereby in addition to paint and tape, he uses a scratch knife. Jansen: "In this way you can use opposite means to achieve the same result."