After studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam I was granted a scholarship in 1972 to study for one year at the Art College in Kraków, Poland. As I had to take my luggage by train from the Netherlands I took only one book, Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov. It was a good choice as you could read it in a non-linear way, continually rereading and cross- referring. The core of the book is a poem by the fictive poet John Slade. In the first Cantos are the following lines:
(…) And from the inside, too, I’d duplicate
Myself, my lamp, an apple on a plate:
Uncurtaining the night, I’d let dark glass,
Hang all the furniture above the grass,
And how delightful when a fall of snow
Covered my glimpse of lawn and reached up so
As to make chair and bed exactly stand
Upon that snow, out in that crystal land! (…)
It was there, in the cold Polish winter, that I started on a series of works in which the inside world became part of the outside one. Slowly, over time, this turned around and the outside word came inside. Thus the inner room started to use the outside world to reveal something of its hidden interior full of memories, dreams and emotions. During my many travels to Asia and Middle America I encountered a world I did not fully understand and these elusive surroundings provided, particularly for my paintings, a myriad of images to explore this place of strangeness.
Landscapes too have been a source of contemplation and wonder. Having lived for many years in Scotland and Ireland, and being a regular visitor to New Zealand, I slowly internalized parts of the natural world of these countries. This helped me to create visual allusions of that hidden place, and explore paths towards it.