Mario ter Braak

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Biography

‘I see painting as philosophizing with coloured mud. Try to see heaven in a puddle of mud’

Mario ter Braak (Hengelo, 1960) studied at the University of the Arts (ArtEZ) in Arnhem in 1981. But in 1982 he chose to transfer to the Minerva Academie in Groningen. The fascination for watching, and the way we see things, derived from wonderment for Ter Braak. After finishing his study at the Minerva Academie he painted things around him that spoke to him. The corner of his atelier, the view out of the window, the woman in the room, etc. The subjects of the paintings simply occured to him and he painted them to explore what the light would do with it. His interest was mainly focussed on the spatial effect on a flat surface.

As time passed by Ter Braak started to change the position of objects. He got fascinated by the transformation objects underwent, when they were put in a different context. The things lost their everyday meaning by doing this.

The artist mainly paints still life that we could call unusual. He argues that his still life paintings relate to the way people observe the world. The order of things really stand out in his paintings. Fruits are neatly ordered in a line on the table, dead fish are delicately placed in a bowl and flowers are being draped like a fan. In still life paintings the arrangement of things is iconic. He composes the things into a esthetic, coherent and interesting whole. Ter Braak also arranges objects in his still life, but at the same time he puts questionmarks behind this matter of course. By emphasizing the objects in the painting, he makes the hierarchy even more clear. He also questions the hierarchy between the fore- and background of the painting. In his paintings the background is just as important as the objects in the foreground.

The artist questions the meaning of things by taking objects out of their everyday contexts and by putting them in a new unlogical arrangement. The subjects that the artist shows differ from timeless figures like fruits and fishes to unsignificant things like washbasins. Manifest images, in which meanings shift, occur by arranging in a manipulating and taged way. The perception of the artist and the beholder are the main topic in his paintings.

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