Jan Frederik Groot – Landscape or Painting.


Jan Frederik Groot

Translated from the Dutch by Mark Speer.

What is the relationship between Marian Plug’s paintings and the landscape?

For Marian Plug, the landscape is a reason for creating a painting. Depicting a landscape is not the priority. The canvas is entirely conceived in the studio, without sketches, without slides, without Polaroids – in short, without the aid of images of “real” landscapes. Marian Plug paints with great concentration, and each brush stroke is about solving problems on the canvas presented by the surface.

While she paints, Marian Plug is completely conscious of the discourse of modern painting, in which the qualities of the medium itself are meticulously explored. There was no longer any place for representation in this discourse – the medium no longer surveyed another world; rather, the painting as a medium was deliberately dismantled.

It is the discourse of a self-referential medium, which ceased to exist because it lacked any mediating role whatsoever. Marian Plug’s work has elaborated on this discourse and is simultaneously an inversion of it. The notions of modern painting are her point of reference. Nowhere does she hide the notion that a painting is a two-dimensional surface with paint on it, and viewers are unable to get around this notion either. But at the same time, a subject does break through this flat surface, its content sinking its talons into the viewers’ cognitive capacities. Marian Plug applies all available painterly resources to seduce the viewer. This seduction uses the discourse of modernity – the exploration of the essence of painting. Painting has lost the uncertainty and innocence of experimentation.