Ingrid van Polen

Human interaction is at the heart of all my work. It begins at the moment of inspiration, when an emotion arises from deep within myself, continues throughout the creative process of producing the actual piece, and is of course present at the moment when the viewer responds to what I have expressed on the canvas. Viewing a painting is an experience you must have in person, direct human contact is the point.

It starts with observation. An artist’s job is to observe and what we produce is our interpretation of that moment. Personally, I like to see what is not obvious, what’s not being said. My paintings often depict common occurrences, yet it is not their ordinariness that interests me, but the uniqueness of even the most ordinary of events. That unanticipated brilliance as a moment arrives and passes. The subject matter and the setting are equally important. While some artists like to depict motion or chaos I prefer to stop time, to encourage viewers’ thoughts to wander to before and after the moment. I like to consider myself the starting point for further thought.

To intensify this inclination, I tend to create scenes in which the actual event still has to take place or has just ended: moments reminiscent of atmosphere and suspense. Although I set up a narrative through contemporary figurative painting, I do not supply any solutions. It is this sense of mystery or subtlety that makes my paintings intriguing. Every person will take something a little different away from the same scene.

The slow pace of oil painting is the reason why I have chosen it as my medium. It allows for a more intimate connection to human perception, from both the point of view of the artist as well as the audience. My paintings carry the weight of my touch, presence, repeated analysis and intense gazing. For me, paint has the ability to capture the gesture of the painter at the exact moment of creation.

Painting is a solitary activity, and by being alone I can more intimately and personally interact with the personages in my works. I put myself into the paintings through brushstrokes and color choices, lending my thoughts and emotions to the situation.

In today’s often superficial world of image overload, paintings are handmade, one of a kind, fragile objects. As an artist, I strive to develop paintings that speak to others as it speaks to myself about the beauty that exists. I want people to stop, pause, reflect and connect with my paintings. It is a complex process rather than a singular action.