Gerrie Wachtmeester

1957 -

About the artist

When Gerrie Wachtmeester (Emmen, 1957) was graduated from the Minerva Academy in Groningen he chose for the figuration in his paintings. In his landscapes het depicts landscapes in Groningen with mansions, small roads, canals and bushes. The depict is partly based on realite, partly on memories from his childhood and partly on his longings and dreams. The atmosphere of a place and the farmiliarity that he evokes, are the subject of the paintings. It’s important to Wachtmeester to hold on to the atmosphere it evokes. The artist creates a feeling of stillness in his paintings: nothing is moving and there are no humans shown. Still the human presence is sensible in the buildings, the digged canals and the planted threes.
His paintings are built up in straight horizental and vertical lines. The house or other architectural shapes and the threes are depicts that are in contrast with the flat horizon and the bushes. His works have changed of character in the passing of time. In the beginning Wachtmeest painted landscapes of Groningen with an unearthly tension in it, evoked by the looming sky and the undefined light in the distance.
The houses of the province Groningen are symbool for the rectilineair mentality of Groningen, but also for a safe home. He was born in this area. His paintings show the safe and obscure parts of life and evoke associations with the magic realism of Carel Willink and Raoul Hynckes. Wachtmeesters more recent work is less heavy and more simple in structure. He used to lend his ideas to his direct observations, but present day he makes up the depicts himself. But he still uses his memory and the reality to help him with this. The landscape of Groningen is still his source of inspiration, but less obvious. The depict seems to be painted in a way in which we pass by in coincidence. The sky is more light and the looming clouds are gone. Also the clair-obscur is less strong. But the stillness still is strongly present and the light still has an unnatural feeling. This causes a feeling of alienation.

When Wachtmeister creates a painting, he starts with a basic idea that hasn’t been further developed yet. Then he will draw the horizental line that decides the composition of the painting. Iconic elements in the landscape receive a sort of spot, but firstly he will paint the sky. The sky decides the atmosphere of the depict. After that he will start working on the landscape. This goes intuitive: what is the painting asking for? What has to be where? And which part of the year are we in? During the evening the painting is put in the living room for Wachtmeister to get answers on these questions. The depict is painted very thinly, this asks for a lot of time. But the artist needs this to be introduced to the atmosphere of the painting. Only in this way he can reach the core in himself to depict the characteristic atmosphere in his work.