Wool artist Claudy Jongstra sounds the alarm with an angry and threatening tapestry

Wool artist Claudy Jongstra sounds the alarm with an angry and threatening tapestry

Guernica de la Ecologia by Claudy Jongstra.Statue Natascha Libbert

Swirling thunderclouds, ominous like an approaching thunderstorm. Claudy Jongstra’s new artwork is huge and very menacing. I’ve never seen wool so angry. These are not soft sheep clouds, this wool and silk are ferocious.

And that is the intention, because Jongstra is concerned. The internationally acclaimed wool artist leads a life that sounds very romantic. She and her partner run a farm in Friesland where dye plants are grown in a biodynamic way. The wool of Drenthe heath sheep is dyed with the paint from those plants. We would all like to live like this, right? It sounds like a great idyll.

That’s how it looks, for example, from the beautiful photos that art magazine See All This made on site. Jongstra is ‘guest curator’ of the magazine this winter and has put together an entire magazine about color. These menacing thunderclouds have everything to do with color. The artist sees a bleak future for natural dyeing. According to her, the dye plants and the craft are threatened with extinction.

Wool artist Claudy Jongstra sounds the alarm with an angry and threatening tapestry

Guernica de la Ecologia by Claudy Jongstra.Statue Natascha Libbert

The tapestry measures 3.49 by 7.77 meters, the same size as Picasso’s Guernica, in which Jongstra found inspiration. Short art-historical refresher: the Spanish artist painted that canvas as an indictment of war violence, specifically in response to the Nazi bombing of the place Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

Picasso painted Guernica in black and white, but there is also a tapestry variant, in slightly warmer sepia tones. Until the beginning of this year, such a tapestry hung in the headquarters of the UN Security Council in New York.

And that tapestry inspired Jongstra to make her statement. To be honest: I sat on it for a while (I understood that was allowed) and smelled it (the comforting scent of a warm sheep). Simply put, the Guernica an anti-war statement and Jongstra’s Guernica de la Ecologia is a statement for biodiversity and craft.

Whether the artist is right to sound the alarm about the paint plants, I dare not say anything about that. In any case, I’m more optimistic about the craft. Natural painting is in, young artists like to experiment with it. And ‘eco art’ is everywhere now.

Jongstra may have contributed to this himself. She shows again and again what is possible with natural pigments, such as making a hard statement with soft silk and wool in this case.

Wool artist Claudy Jongstra sounds the alarm with an angry and threatening tapestry

Sophie Steengracht, Root Rise Bloom Fall Wilt, 2021, vegetable inks, dried plants, pastel on paper, 265 × 230 cm.Statue Jochem Ruijgrok, Collection AkzoNobel Art Foundation

At the anniversary exhibition of the AkzoNobel Art Foundation I discovered artist Sophie Steengracht (30) who makes large figurative paintings with natural pigments, such as madder, cosmea, woad and poppies. She also sticks parts of plants and flowers on the paper.

Steengracht told me that she learned the craft from various artists, such as Nan Groot Antink and the artist duo Painting Plants of Lucila Kenny (who was trained by Studio Claudy Jongstra) and Naan Rijks. Of course Steengracht knows Jongstra: ‘I find her work very inspiring.’

Steengracht also grows its own dye plants. In the AkzoNobel Art Space you can see a nice virtual reality video about how she does this. She is now approached by an even younger generation for advice. ‘I am hopeful,’ she says about the future of her profession.

Wool artist Claudy Jongstra sounds the alarm with an angry and threatening tapestry

Claudy JongstraStatue Els Zweerink

Who? Claudy Jongstra (58)
What? Guernica de la Ecologia
True? From Friday 5 pm on seeallthis.com in the online exhibition Color Fields.
And then? The intention is that the artwork, just like Picasso’s Guernica will travel around the world.
Want to read and see more? See All This, winter issue Color Fields
More eco-friendly art? Now on display at Museum het Valkhof (Nijmegen), Centraal Museum (Utrecht), presentation institution Nest (The Hague) and Sophie Steengracht at AkzoNobel Art Space (Amsterdam).

Wool artist Claudy Jongstra sounds the alarm with an angry and threatening tapestry
Source link Wool artist Claudy Jongstra sounds the alarm with an angry and threatening tapestry

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