Roos van der Vliet (b. 1985) is a Dutch artist, based in Arnhem, the Netherlands. She got her BFA in 2009, and has been painting ever since. Her work has been exhibited throughout Europe and the USA. Although she doesn’t consider herself a hyperrealist, she does get lost in the details every time she paints. She wants to get so close to the reality she’s presenting, that it almost feels real. The eyes must look back, hair must look like it’s touchable. It has something to do with the feeling of alienation she gets when looking at the world around her. Life is so enigmatic, and by watching it from close up, reproducing that reality, it seems to give her more control over it. Like when she’s creating something real, it makes her more real.
Mirrors of your soul
"The body of work I’ve been painting on for my solo show ‘Mirrors of your soul’ was all created during the pandemic. Being in isolation most of the time, returning to what I once started my career with, portraits, felt natural. Not being able to meet strangers, hugging my friends, having brief moments of contact on the street, an accidental touch from the cashier in the supermarket or sharing a smile with the bus driver felt so unnatural, and although I never considered myself to be a very outgoing person, after a few months of exploring all the layers of loneliness, I came to the conclusion that this was way too much for me, and that the interrelatedness between people is the thread that holds our very existence together. While painting, the first thing I do is paint the eyes up to the point that they’re looking back at me. From that moment the work is alive, I begin communicating with it while working on finishing the rest of the work. Painting portraits really helped me to get through this strange period in time.
The concept of my solo ‘Mirrors of your soul’ at Thinkspace this September (2021) might feel familiar. Hair, piercing eyes, golden hour light, it’s all been part of my work ever since the beginning of my career. But, while I keep being fascinated by the same themes, the story behind it changes, because I change as an artist but also as a human being, although I wonder if there really is a difference between the two. Where I once had so much to tell, so much to get off my chest, there’s less and less I have to say. I don’t feel as if I’m that special. The covid pandemic made that even more clear. We are all dealing with the same stuff around the world, although all stories are unique, all countries are different and the amount of suffering clearly differs from person to person, it’s all stories in space and time. In our very essence we are all the same. That what binds us are not our differences, our personal stories, our childhood trauma’s, our successes in life, it’s the fact that we’re all here at the same time as one species, the human race.
In this series it’s not about what I have to tell you, it’s about what you feel or think when you see my work. When a painting stares directly at you when you’re standing before it, and these eyes, they just look at you, mirroring you, giving you all the space and time you need… what do you feel or think?
I want to see you, and I’m using my paintings as a gateway to that connection we share."