The oil paintings of the contemporary Dutch artist Paul Jansen induce the viewer to look beyond the standard picture within the frame. It feels as if the curious animal really reaches out of the frame, as if the viewer stands face-to-face with the cow.
Paul Jansen started his artistic career as a photographer. The influence of photography surely is traceable in his realistic portraits with unique compositions and extreme framing.
The cow is an important subject in the work of Paul Jansen. The animal’s unpretentious sense of being and its quirky, sometimes absurd shapes fascinate the artist. Unlike the function of cattle animals in past decennia painting, Paul Jansen does not frame the cow as embellishment of landscape. He frames a single animal in all of its uniqueness and detail, often even with no room for landscape.
The backgrounds of the portraits radiate serenity and peace in their almost abstract flatness. The background contrasts with the liveliness of the animal, painted in great detail. The cow appears as if it is three-dimensional, because of the way the cow reaches outside the frame, painted with skillful technique. In this way, Paul Jansen creates an intriguing play of color and form and of abstractness and realism, to let the nature of the cow be fully appreciated.