‘The atmosphere has to be enough for the viewer to as it were dive into the complex worlds I paint’.
Hans Deuss (Amsterdam, 1948) finished his education at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam where he was taught by Melle and Herman Gordijn. Here he developed his interest in magical realism. Influences from Carel Willink (1900-1983) are because of this present in his work. Although painting was a sidetrack during his studies, Deuss decided to focus mainly on this after he graduated. He considers himself an autodidactic painter who developed his own style. When Deuss wants to start a painting, he first makes very detailed sketches to get his world of ideas on paper. Afterwards he selects the most exciting sketch and developed it further into a painting. The artist believes it is important to maintain the atmosphere and the essence of the sketch in the painting. Because of this, he sketches his selected image at the desired size and then transferred onto the canvas. The sketch provides as the first layer and the base of the painting. Deuss uses a layered technique in which the painting is built out of three or four layers of oil paint. Because these layers are thinly applied, they remain somewhat transparent and provide as supporting layers to each other.
In Deuss’ work, nature seems to take on the battle against human presence. Classic looking, exotic buildings contest with an emerging green: trees, bushes and shrubs force themselves through constructions or loom in the distance. The sky and water surround the architecture. The stairs that lead to upstairs or downstairs provide a feeling of spaciousness due to the far-away horizon or the perspective that guide the eye towards the image exterior. That is where freedom beckons.
The structures that Deuss paints borrow from fantasy as well as from reality. They are bits of memories, of his childhood years for example when he was glancing through old photo albums or his travels to Mexico where he learned about the old Aztec culture. He can lose himself entirely in his own world: ‘I try to bring meaning into my work, something that relates to me, something that drives me or keeps me busy. In the end they are expressions of my emotions’.
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