Symona Colina

"Perspective a wonderful journey, one starts at a point following a line... melodically."

The Breathing - Oil on canvas 100 x 90 cm

Symona Colina was born in 1954 in Ridderkerk, The Netherlands and has been actively showing her work internationally, including in The Netherlands, the United States, Italy, Spain, Belgium, England, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France. Symona lives and works in Italy.

"Perspective is a dance with colors and lines that follows a melody of outspread wings. Perspective is a meeting and a clash between length, height and width. Where I see the world inside of me. Where I see the world outside of me. Art has many interfaces with existence. It is all around in its countless disciplines. And nevertheless unlimited."

The interfaces employed by Symona Colina in the visual arts chiefly tie in with: 'spatial perception, spatial thinking and contemplation.' Through which infinity apparently comes within reach.

Fairytales - Oil on canvas 100 x 90 cm
Nightlight - Colored pencil on paper A3
Cinders - Oil on canvas 100 x 90 cm
Aeronauts - Colored pencil on paper A3
Connexion - Oil on canvas 100 x 90 cm
Northern Wind - Oil on canvas 100 x 90 cm
Fairytales - Oil on canvas 100 x 90 cm
Storm - Oil on canvas 100 x 90 cm

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

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Jason Engelbart

Born 1960, Germany

Lives in: Hamburg, Germany

Describe your art in 3 words: Inspiring, touching, visionary

See More Work: | Singulart

FAIRY TALES TOLD BY THE WIND - Digital Neo Painting, Fine Art Print on Alu Dibond 175 x 130 cm

"My abstract-baroque works are based on my personal exploration of the diversity of our being. They are at the same time a reflection of the universal love that unites us all and they are an expression of my deep respect for our being, for the wonders of life and for every creature in this world. Against this background, my works are a homage to life, to our being."

What themes does your work involve?
The more our world is unsteady, the more the intentions for positive charging and balancing become stronger in me. It is not about painting the things in my works looking beautiful, but rather about using the tools at my disposal to trigger reflection and create a positive awareness of our daily togetherness. Here is the source of my sacral-abstract emotional artworks. In the creative process I feel deeply connected with my soul, my spirit… with God. My so-called digital neopaintings of the work cycle THE JOY OF BEING (2016 until today) are created in a purely intuitive creative process and are reflections of my personal feelings and experiences. My art is a testament to a cultivation of wholesome, human qualities, for positive change and development, which I state as my artistic vision.
Describe your creative process.
Using my characteristic digital painting technique, developed over the years, I abstract selected original works of the Baroque art epoch by superimposing picture levels, blurring, overpainting and re-composing them. In the process, my very own flowing structures and pictorial rhythms emerge, while the original colour composition remains largely untouched. In sum, colour and form transform into a single aesthetic-abstract event that is experienced on a purely emotional level and independent of time and space as a holy moment. Through this form of digitally painterly, an abstract re-staging of the original, I build a finely balanced bridge to contemporary art without disenchanting.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The trigger for my abstract-baroque serie of works was a visit to the Würzburg Residenz in Germany in 2016. Overwhelmed by the opulent ceiling frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Antonio Giuseppe Bossi and Johannes Zick inside the Baroque castle, a deep desire arose in me to mirror this splendour of spirituality in the form of an abstract translation into the present. I closed my eyes while looking at the exuberant works on the walls and ceilings, except for a narrow slit of vision, until the figurativeness of the paintings dissolved into abstraction. Thus the foundation stone for my work cycle THE JOY OF BEING was laid.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
In my opinion, good art is timeless and at the same time enables reflection on the respective present moment. It touches on an emotional level, inspires the viewer and encourages him to pause and to contemplate.
What is the role of the artist today?
From my personal point of view, all forms of art are expressions of human existence. They are instruments for dealing with the past and at the same time have a dimension directed towards the future through visionary content, that can be guiding for the further development of society. This is why it is particularly important for an artist to use his/her possibilities of artistic expression in a respectful and responsible manner. In our multi-ethnic world, art therefore has a particularly high status. At best, it is an engagement to support integration and to highlight the positive elements of cultural diversity. In this sense, art is an invitation to a dialogue between the most diverse cultures and it offers the opportunity for self- reflection – for the artist and also for each recipient.
- Digital Neo Painting, Fine Art Print on Alu Dibond 190 x 120 cm
GOLDEN GLOW OF CONFIDENCE - Digital Neo Painting, Fine Art Print on Alu Dibond 95 x 170 cm
FESTIVAL OF A MAGNIFICENT TRANSFORMATION - Digital Neo Painting, Fine Art Print on Alu Dibond 104 x 160 cm
EUPHORIA II - Digital Neo Painting, Fine Art Print on Alu Dibond 180 x 145 cm


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

Michael Herbert Dorn

Born 1961, St. George's, Bermuda

Lives in: Kraainem, Belgium

Describe your art in 3 words: Post-contemporary art

See More Work: | Instagram@michael_herbert_dorn_artist

David's Oath of the Horatii (David's Le Serment des Horaces) - Oil on oil primed linen 140 x 110 cm

"The painting series entitled, SYLLOGY, combines "traditional European painting techniques" and intermedia elements including the use of digital mobile devices to view the exhibited paintings as "color-inverted" digital images. This new painting series appropriates "canonical" European paintings in order to create and vitalize a new context for art historical and contemporary representation."

What themes does your work involve?
One of several thematics involved in my work is a question regarding the fundamental truth value of the received historical records that are used to validate modern concepts of reality. A leading concept within my work is the singular idea that a metaphysical inversion has imprisoned all possible conceptions of reality. I use canonical representations of European history and mythology as a visual jumping-off point to set up conditions for a pictorial argument about the racialization of historical representation. But, the thematic of race is really just a primer.
Describe your creative process.
My process begins with a search for a suitable classical or canonical painting. Whenever possible, I do try to study the painting directly from life, making my own sketches and photographs during that session. However, COVID restrictions have made this nearly impossible. So, now I either purchase or locate free high-resolution images online. The images need to be high resolution. Using Photoshop, I'll make adjustments to the saturation, color temperature, and other image aspects. After this, I create the inverted image of the subject painting. I usually make one or two poster studies with the added figure. From the very begining of the process I am thinking about the placement of the additional figure. I use the "story" of the painting to help guide me.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Today, the artist's ability to actually engage their sensitivities with the events happening in the world are the primary measure of good, great, and worthless art. True art goes beyond self-expression or any financial interest.
About my current work, and what is the Post-contemporary?
I call myself a “post-contemporary” oil painter. What I mean by post-contemporary will become more apparent as I briefly describe my working processes. My current painting project takes a look back in art history. It appropriates (or expropriates—depending on one’s viewpoint) the view of a particular foundational oil painting of the early renaissance, northern renaissance, mannerism, baroque, or the neoclassical periods of art history, respectively. I use both religious and secular themed paintings. Using digital images of these paintings, I essentially recreate these “classical” works of art as color-inverted images—they appear as what used to be called a (film) “negative” in the commercial heyday of photographic films like Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford. But that’s not all. I have painted an additional figure within the negative field of these images—a so-called “racially-black” figure. I usually place this “interloper” figure within a pictorial space that appears to me to be inactive in the original paintings. This creates a new, two-way visual context.

My process begins with the search for a suitable “classical” painting. Whenever possible, I try to directly study and take high-resolution digital photographs of the actual painting. Museum visits have become nearly impossible with the manifestation of COVID-19. So, now I either purchase or locate free images online. Within Photoshop, I then make color adjustments to the image, including its color inversion. In addition to color inversion, I will sometimes alter the images overall color temperature, and in selected areas, the color saturation. After that, I will usually make one or more small freehand color “poster-studies” in oil paints to explore the color relationships and the composition. I carefully study the color relationships between the reconfigured and color-inverted oil painting and the virtual image captured on the mobile device’s screen. In these sketches, I include all aspects of the inverted “classical” painting and the added “non-color inverted” (color-positive) figure. Once I am satisfied, I will then make an underdrawing on my canvas using blue Staedtler Lumichrome drafting leads. I’ll then apply a very thin layer of semi-transparent titanium white and marble dust paint to the entire canvas. This scumble layer is referred to as a “half-paste.” This half- paste becomes what in the early Italian method is termed the campitura layer. Over the dry half-paste layer, I begin to apply my color upon the now faintly visible blue lines of the underpainting, modeling the forms as I go along. I work each section very close to the final finish, except the central background, which I’ll generally lay in during the final stages. Of course, this is a very fluid process, and it never follows—one-two-three—like I’ve just written.

Both my creative process and the ideological foundation of my project depends upon digital media. Of critical importance in this painting series is the spectator’s use of their digital mobile device to provide an active digitally color-inverted view of each of the paintings displayed within the actual exhibition space. Viewing an analog painting with the aid of a mobile digital-media device is explicitly a new way of encountering and extending a painting’s semantic potential by challenging the conventional notion of how we (traditionally) experience or view a “painting.”

This project came about as I began to explore and question the development of European and Eurocentric racial ideologies (namely, white-supremacy) that were concurrent with the development of many of the aforementioned art historical periods and many confluent Eurocentric philosophical systems. My current project also resonates with my questioning of how contemporary political, social, and cultural ideas interact with the plastic arts from the European past.

Some artists/writers might classify the post-contemporary as an aesthetic or a critical construct. But I am doubtful of the limiting framework of those terms. Other writers have called the post-contemporary a movement akin to the Baroque redux or Neoclassical redux. Not me. By post-contemporary, I do not mean the widely held consensus that post- contemporary artworks merely or mainly exhibit the traits of skillful execution, creativity, and expresses some degree of “empathy.” I would say that there are many works done by some of the most well trained and technically skilled artists in the world that are not post- contemporary. I’m afraid I also have to disagree that what is being called post-contemporary art is some newfangled way of positing traditional, global, or universal values—as opposed to contemporary art, which they claim pertain to transient (or spurious), topical, or local values.

For me, the post-contemporary artist holds a generous view upon all the myriad forms of what we call art history. By generous I mean two things. First, the totality of art history is taken as a barometer of both the global and national social, political, and cultural environment. Second, this generous view is taken as through a holographic lens. It is a view enabling a capacity towards moral imagination, that distinct quality of understanding (a work of art) within the general and specific context of its creation. Above all things, beyond this said specific context, the post-contemporary implementation proceeds as a form of inquiry into how historical (Eurocentric) visual culture has been used and is being used to inculcate, delineate, underscore, and establish the political, social, and cultural artifacts of our age. The post-contemporary artist is not at all interested in the so-called art historical tradition for the sake of hegemonic notions of tradition and the idea that “it was better back then.” The post contemporary artist understands that art history is foremost an ideological political field. For me, post-contemporary artists must make an in-depth inquiry into how the visually received narratives function within our contemporary milieux to create injustice, lies, and outright (psycho-cultural) deceptions. Within this post-contemporary sphere, my primary interest is in exploring and challenging the ideas fomented by the representation (or lack thereof) of non- white peoples in classical European art.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

Peter Zarkob

Born 1971, Seville, Spain

Lives in: Seville, Spain

Describe your art in 3 words: Minimalist, conceptual, existentialist

See More Work:

Uncertainty - Photograph 30 x 30 cm

"Describir es destruir, sugerir es crear." - Robert Doisneau

"To describe is to destroy, to suggest is to create." - Robert Doisneau

What themes does your work involve?
Mi obra se inspira en escenarios reales de mi entorno más cercano, transformándolos para dotarlos de simbolismo y así representar conceptos abstractos en los que se plasman mis pensamientos, reflexiones, sentimientos, estado de ánimo... La fotografía minimalista me permite reducir una escena a la mínima expresión, centrándome en lo esencial y eliminando lo superfluo.

My work is inspired by real scenes from my closest environment, transforming them to endow them with symbolism and thus represent abstract concepts in which my thoughts, reflections, feelings, state of mind are reflected... Minimalist photography allows me to reduce a scene to the minimum expression, focusing on the essential and eliminating the superfluous.
Describe your creative process.
Observo mi entorno y busco inspiración en la arquitectura, escenas urbanas, naturaleza... Siempre hay algo me atrae (líneas, formas, simetrías, movimiento, contrastes...) e intento capturar el momento desde diferentes ángulos y perspectivas. Posteriormente reviso el trabajo realizado y selecciono la imagen que representa el concepto que quiero transmitir. Para provocar un mayor impacto visual, trato las imágenes en blanco y negro y, utilizando un alto contraste, intento atraer y atrapar la atención del espectador, trasladándole a escenarios únicos, haciéndole cómplice de mis pensamientos y sentimientos y envolviéndole en una atmósfera que viaja desde lo figurativo hacia lo abstracto. Considero que mi trabajo está terminado cuando al observar la imagen no veo la escena, veo el concepto.

I observe my surroundings and look for inspiration in architecture, urban scenes, nature... There is always something that attracts me (lines, shapes, symmetries, movement, contrasts...) and I try to capture the moment from different angles and perspectives. Later I review the work done and select the image that represents the concept I want to convey. To cause a greater visual impact, I treat the images in black and white and, using high contrast, I try to attract and catch the viewer's attention, transporting them to unique settings, making them accomplices of my thoughts and feelings and enveloping them in an atmosphere that travels from the figurative to the abstract. I consider my work finished when looking at the image I don't see the scene, I see the concept.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
Me inspira el análisis de la condición humana, de las emociones, el sentido de la vida... Con mi obra intento aportar una visión personal de estas inquietudes que me permita expresar mi experiencia subjetiva.

I am inspired by the analysis of the human condition, emotions, the meaning of life... With my work I try to provide a personal vision of these concerns that allows me to express my subjective experience.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Su originalidad, su impacto y su capacidad para trasmitir un mensaje.

Its originality, its impact and its ability to convey a message.
What is the role of the artist today?
Actualmente vivimos en una sociedad visualmente saturada pero conceptualmente vacía. De ahí, que el papel del artista sea despertar la curiosidad del espectador y hacerle reflexionar.

We currently live in a visually saturated but conceptually empty society. Hence, the role of the artist is to arouse the viewer's curiosity and make them reflect.
No estás solo - Photograph 30 x 30 cm
Etapas - Photograph 30 x 37,5 cm
Renacer - Photograph 30 x 34,9 cm
Atardecer - Photograph 30 x 30 cm


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

Angela Banks

Born 1977, Johannesburg, South Africa

Lives in: Johannesburg, South Africa

Describe your art in 3 words: Whimsical, Meticulous and Positive

See More Work:

Rebel Ride - Oil on canvas 130 x 150 cm

"Art exists because life is not enough." - Ferreira Gullar.
"This for an artist like me is true as I am compelled in every way to continually produce, it is my escape, my refuge in some ways. I can’t not paint, my life needs it."

What themes does your work involve?
Within my paintings, I strive to create subtle narratives and connections between humans, animals and the context in which they find themselves. The pairing of specific individuals with their animal counterparts has always been a starting point for me, from which to tell/paint a story. The stories are backed strongly by an ever present ‘instinct’ that exists in both the human and the animal make-up. It is a quiet and yet powerful drive that we both have that forms an undeniable relational link between us. It is this link that moves me to flesh out in paint the surreal stories my mind makes up and to share them with others.
Describe your creative process.
The creation of a new body of work for me is always inspired by ‘need’. As a painter, I have a need to express what’s subconsciously running around in my head. I start with the human figure and then the animal and build from there. I never map out or plan a work start to finish in the beginning, it is always a process of growth. The work grows almost on its own, it’s a creative process that is intuitive and sometimes surprising, even to me what is expressed. I know a painting is complete when the story is finished and when I can look at the painting for a long while and not want to change anything.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
In a world of much chaos and disorder, I have a need not only to escape it but also to make sense of what is happening around me. By creating my own stories in the paintings, I am able to break free from the lack of control I sometimes feel and focus rather on what is uplifting. I am largely influenced by what I consider beautiful, the flow of a dress, the expression on a face, the stance of an animal. By focusing on the beauty in the world, I am able to counterbalance my feeling of being out of control and can find an equilibrium within myself. But this striving towards balance through imagination is what I hope viewers can also experience, if only for a time, while they stand in front of the painting and peruse the possible narratives that they can visually see and work out.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
A good piece of Art for me is one that demonstrates great skill, imagination and concept. It must be able to move the viewer to a higher place, a place not experienced in the everyday hum drum of the world.
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of the artist today will always be debated, however in my opinion it should be the artists goal to be a commentator, a producer of something meaningful, a creator of the unusual, the intriguing and the inspiring.
Between Earth and Sky - Oil on canvas 110 x 150 cm
Saddlebag diaries - Oil on canvas 110 x 80 cm
Deep Within - Oil on canvas 72 x 109 cm
The Sky Messenger - Oil on canvas 110 x 150 cm


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist