Casper Hoogzaad

drawingspaintingstext • biocontact


schilderijen en tekeningen

Hein van Haaren


His art is fine and refined, based on a fascination for nature. He prepares his own paints from natural materials, finding inspiration in ancient practices. As a young artist, he wondered how the old Masters managed to instil their work with such specific light.

By consulting experts, conducting his own research and comparing tubes of paint, he discovered that the light in those old paintings was partly the result of using natural painting materials.

Using his newly acquired knowledge on ancient painting techniques, he started making his own paints.

In his search for pure nature, he travelled to Surinam in 2006, where he stayed for two years. He wanted to experience nature in its purest state, before the explosive growth of tourism in the country.

Here his ideas were confirmed. In this environment, he was also able to fulfil his need for what he refers to as self-sufficiency.

He was able to paint with the soil on which he stood and become part of the nature in which he had submerged himself.

His subsequent work is based on his memories of the Surinam jungle, where he was so profoundly confronted with nature. The paintings are reminders of the colourful fruit he saw there: rich in colour, variegated in tone, and the light is present as in a bowl of strawberries in a still life by Adriaen Coorte (around 1660 – 1707).

These are intense, poetic images that stand out from the neutral background and reveal his connection with nature and its tranquillity. In his paintings the colours shimmer, resembling the late light of a summer’s day.

When viewing his work, one wonders how we should react to it, crafted as it was in such a traditional way, in an era when technology dominates how we think, feel and act.

His work, which is almost introverted in its presentation, is so different from what art today aspires to be that it can easily be pushed aside as ‘not of this time’; it is a serious yet beautiful dialogue with nature based on the assumption that we humans are part of this nature.

For Hoogzaad, experiencing the form of nature is very important and this is what he wishes to make visible in his work.

He not only does this in his paintings, but particularly in his drawings. He begins every day with several hours of drawing. As such, he has now accumulated 290 drawing books, each containing 100 pencil drawings.

The drawings look more abstract than the paintings. They are compositions of interposed and juxtaposed organic shapes in greys and whites. Each composition suggests the changes inherent in a growth process just as drawing itself is a process. Through drawing and painting, he transports the viewer in his fascination for the form of nature and makes him party to his ideas.

His craftsmanship may seem to imply a nostalgic return to the past; in reality he chooses to portray the meaning of nature using natural materials. He does this with forms that he derives from nature and interprets through memories and imagination.

In his work, Hoogzaad reveals his feelings about his confrontation with nature. Wonder and emotion are conveyed in every painting and drawing. He is inspired by the overwhelming beauty, which he communicates to us in the lively grey and white forms of his drawings and subtle, dreamlike paintings, unvarnished and thus very vulnerable.

Casper Hoogzaad is not an environmental activist; he is an interpreter of nature as an essential source of life.