Thomas van Rijs studied fine arts at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
‘Around the age of 16, I started making small sculptures and paintings in my attic room, more as a hobby. By participating in the Blitzkrieg collective in 2009, I first came into contact with other painters. I only started painting during my studies at the academy. After two years I switched from graphic design to painting.’
Often Thomas van Rijs examines in his work memories, experiences, and visual culture from his youth. In fact, he tries to reconstruct fragmented and bygone memories.
For this reason, his work is filled with visual materials found and collected over the years. For instance, derived from the advertising culture of the 1980s and 1990s, board games, toys, comics, and old computer games.
And if you look at the work of Thomas van Rijs up close, the many underlying layers and pencil sketches of previous paintings are often visible as old traces or layers of earth.
It is an archaeological or anthropological investigation into the past of Thomas van Rijs. Through this exploration, his finds and discoveries are rediscovered as well as juxtaposed. And usually, it is not a literal translation of memory, but rather a re-creation or corruption of it.
Moreover, he uses printers, digital cameras, Photoshop, and other image processing programs. That creates a dialogue between the digital media and the more analogous and traditional practice of painting. In this way, the possibility arises to place different visual elements as allegories in each other’s context. To not only distort and strip them of their original charge, but also to provide them with a new meaning.
In effect, the resulting discrepancy creates a gap between idea and interpretation. And also acts as a catalyst for an open narrative. The narrative in which the viewer is free to unleash his own interpretation of the works.