Zoontjens is a voyager in paint. His paintings are an enduring dialogue withthe canvas where there are questions and answers to be projected. They areimpressive in size and scope, mostly consisting of explorations offantastically supernatural landscapes.
Answers develop from a necessity to find a balance through rough, organicand graphic forms, consistently discovering new forms and new histories. He presents to us a sincere investigation into a parallel fictional history, the very distant past and the very far future. Inventive forms implode and explode through often colorful and sometimes sickly bright colors. They force us to abandon the familiar, describing instead a world that could have taken place in the point of time of an aftermath of some huge event. Now we are looking at the point of time where not only decay has set in but
life starts to slowly come back also.
Many times in his paintings the spatial atmosphere is unspecified and far reaching. Through creating smooth transparent surfaces, contrasting with thick slathered decadent mounds of shit brown paint, these surfaces make up an endless cosmological images and surreal interplanetary vistas which never fail to destabilize our perception of reality. Often referencing architecture and natural topography, the horizon line emerges above the heaps, opening up to a pale sky. The architectural forms are not premeditated before they reach the canvas and have no obvious function in this world, enforcing even further their futuristic quality. Through using his strong force of his own imagination he not only conveys imaginary worlds but also conveys his opinion about painting itself.
In the all too often self conscious, fragmented, contemporary art world of the twenty first century, it is a welcomed relief to find Zoontjens paintings filled with so many noble aspirations. It is clear that we are not dealing with painting for the sake of painting, but the question of the possibility of even being able to picture things at all.
When all is said and done we walk away from this exhibition, believing that yes it is possible to invent the future while also imagining the past. Zoontjens clearly reminds us that only painting as a means can reveal these possibilities.
Sam L Rees
Born 1979 in Goirle, Netherlands. Lives and works in The Hague, Netherlands.
1994 -1998 Royal Academy Art & Design‘s- Hertogenbosch
1988 -1992 Grafic Lyceum Eindhoven
Planet of the Planets, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
Hello from the enemy airship, Galerie Cokkie Snoei, Rotterdam
5.28 m2, Kunstfabrik Berlijn
Tranceformation, Noname Gallery, Rotterdam
Art 88 Galsery, Nuenen
Hybrid Territories, Kamchatka Galerie, Paris
Cabin Fever, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Chicago, IL
Reliquaries Of Empires Dust, Berenitzky galerie, Berlin, Germany
Das ist einfach Schwierig, Kunst in Kreuzberg e.V, Berlin, Germany
Weltraum als Fluchtlinie, Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany
Constructing in Reverse, Galerie Cokkie Snoei, Rotterdam
It's All in the Game, Avecom, Arnhem
Tease, Rheintriaden, Cologne, Germany
Mooi Van Ver, TENT, Rotterdam
Art Cologne, Cologne, Galerie Cokkie Snoei
Art Primeur Revisited, Pictura, Dordrecht
A Sleeping Beauty, mural painting, Rotterdam