Ingrid Simons studied at and gained an MFA from the Art Academy of St Joost in 1999. She was nominated for the prestigious Royal Prize for Painters in 2005 and 2008 and represented in The Netherlands by galleries in 's‑Hertogenbosch and Maastricht and in the UK by Four Square Fine Arts.
Simon’s offers us landscapes with the veneer of pastoral reassurance stripped away. Colour is largely absent, drained out, the better to reveal a world profoundly at variance with our desire to feel at home. As light seems to recede, deep water and dense forests – long associated with enchantment, transformation and the unconscious – are austere and unyielding. The zig zagging paintwork disappearing into the interior presents a challenge – how to navigate this space and what might we encounter.
Get closer to the paintings and the image vanishes and what you see is a different topography, a visceral engagement with the first principle of painting - how to transform this inert buttery stuff, into a thing with visual coherence that carries meaning. There’s energy here, sunk into the heavy daubs, streaks, slabs and zig zags as they’ve been built up or scrapped back, a dogged determination. It doesn’t look easy - the images seem hard won. But there’s a clear relationship between what Simons wants to paint and how she wants to paint it – the peaks and troughs of worked paint, create shadow and ambiguity, that’s then amplified into the desired sense of unease, as you step back and the paint coalesces into landscape.
In a world where smooth colour corrected beauty, comes at the click of a button, Simons is prepared to risk painting ugly in her pursuit to get under the skin of her subject, to make her own way, and that is a compelling reason to begin a journey into these paintings.