Saturday 16 March 2024

Sabina Timmermans / Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh 

Garden of the Asylum


oil on canvas

72 x 91cm

image: Van Gogh Museum

Vincent van Gogh 

Tree Roots


oil on canvas

50,3 x 100,1 cm

image: Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh’s final painting Tree Roots, served as the inspiration for a series of charcoal drawings I worked on for a year, called Caressing and Colliding - Sharing the Land.  The location where Van Gogh likely encountered these roots and trunks was discovered the year before my residency at the Vincent van GoghHuis in Zundert in 2021. They were situated on a slope alongside a small street in Auvers-sur-Oise. According to a dendrologist, these roots and trunks were from coppiced trees, a form of forestry where new growth is repeatedly cut back for use. Some argue that Van Gogh expresses the struggle of life and death with this. 


My aim for the residency was to connect his final painting and the place of his death, with the place where Van Gogh's life began, Zundert. While exploring the forests around the Vlaamse Schuur where I stayed, I looked for similar shapes symbolizing the struggle for life and death. Initially, I searched for the coppiced trees I knew were there, but I became increasingly intrigued by the numerous surface tree roots from old beech trees. In my drawings, I envisioned them as bodies shaped by their life-long interaction and entanglement with their surroundings; with soil, wind, water, humans and other organisms. 


I gained a deeper understanding of how Van Gogh perceived nature, due to this residency. With new interest, I revisited his letters and his paintings depicting nature. I was captivated by how Van Gogh's trees transcend mere imagery, seeming to spring to life, imbued with a soul,  as if they are speaking to you. It’s only since then that I read in his paintings the profound connection Van Gogh felt with nature, how he felt at one with it. I strongly resonate with this sensation, and it serves as a significant inspiration for my own artistic practice.


Sabina Timmermans, 2024

Sabina Timmermans

Caressing and Colliding - Sharing the Land (12) 


charcoal on paper

140 x 200 cm

image: Peter Cox

Sabina Timmermans (NL)

Roots (3)


charcoal on paper

110 x 141,5 cm