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In Your Face

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Dutch artist Piet van den Boog and his subjects are on display in his new show, Bruised and Battered, currently at the Mike Weiss Gallery in Chelsea. Confronting human emotion and pain through unconventional color and angles, van den Boog seeks to make the viewer more uncomfortable with the idea of human suffering under the surface, while bringing it to the foreground of canvases, some as large as 6 feet.

Though some portraits expose his subjects straight on, van den Boog focuses on vulnerable expressions, causing an irony between the size and scale of such goliath paintings and the sadness that makes them appear small.

While walking through the gallery, it becomes evident that the title, Bruised and Battered is meant to take on a personal and internal meaning, rather than the stereotypical idea of a bruise. van den Boog shies away from purples, blues, and blacks and boldly employs strong flesh tones, faded turquoise, and copper metal. The result of such a strong color choice brings attention to the value of people in van den Boog’s story; viewers can easily see a connection between old pennies – copper tarnished in green with the visibility of decaying value, equivalent to the diminished worth of emotionally damaged, Bruised and Battered individuals.

Emotionally charged self-portraits of van den Boog reveal a self-conscious side and insight into the inspiration for the collection. His empathetic portrayal of suffering women, young men and even a child, stings awareness into gallery-goers that force the mind to see beyond stigmas of abuse, from types of victims to the colors associated with scars.

Bruised and Battered will remain on view through March 24, 2012 at the Mike Weiss Gallery, located at 520 W. 24th St., Manhattan. For gallery hours and information, visit or call 212-691-6899. -- Melanie Baker

Posted on March 09, 2012 - by

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