Rows of magazines like Reader’s Digest and Cosmopolitan, bags of Lay’s, Starbucks, Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe prints, ATMs…
The hyperrealistic paintings of Dutch artist Gerard Boersma freeze time so that our fast and busy lives are forever captured in a moment, finally ready to be observed quietly. They show us nothing new, just slices of our reality. Perhaps future generations, living in totally different urban spaces and having needs and wants utterly dissimilar from our own, will look at these images with wonder and curiosity on how their ancestors lived from day to day.
“My paintings show a deep love for the modern human and the contemporary city,” says Gerard. “I register common people on the streets, in stores, public transport and museums or zoom in on popular consumer brands. At first sight these things might appear as quite ordinary and meaningless, but through my eyes they’re anything but that. I feel they say a whole lot about today’s society, about the way people see themselves, interact or are influenced by developments in various ways. I observe it, enlarge it and paint it.”
All of these paintings are bright and colourful and energetic but they do highlight a dark side of modern living – self-absorption, disconnectedness, lack of intimate relations, an erosion of close-knit community. “I once observed that people in public spaces hardly ever talk to each other by which I mean I noticed that there’s very little heart-felt contact,” continues the artist. “There are lots of those moments and I try to capture them in my work. I guess I would love to see people being kind and generous to each other in public space. You could see my work as warnings on what happens if we don’t. Perhaps my work is about pointing out the worst and hoping for the best.”
A graduate of Minerva Art Academy, Gerard likes Rembrandt, Vermeer, Caravaggio, Edvard Munch and more recent figures like Edward Hopper, George Tooker and Ralph Goings. “Also my late-great uncle, a well-known painter in my country, Jopie Huisman influenced me a lot,” he says. “What influenced my vision and subject matter the most are the books and writings of Neil Postman. He was an American professor and social critic best known for his works on modern technologies and media.”
Gerard Boersma lives and works in Leeuwarden. His art is in museums, galleries and private collections in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. He is currently in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign. You can learn more below if you’d like to support his initiative: