Arie Hellendoorn


‘My interest within the hybrid abstract/figurative painting comes from an idea of the departure from [an] accurate representation of the world around us. Figuration is a very literal presentation of the real, and abstraction is a more bodiless representation of the impossible. I am interested in the space between these two sets of ideas, which tends to be more ambiguous in its definition.

Netherlands-born Arie Hellendoorn works and lives in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Arie has exhibited widely throughout Aotearoa and Australia in both solo and group exhibitions since the early 2000s.

Representations of the human form and anatomy feature prominently throughout Arie's work, based often on portraits from found images. Whether from books, photographs, or the internet, Arie draws these figures from their original contexts with a deft hand, only to maroon them in spaces defined by ambiguity and duplicity. Objects, surfaces, and environments are rendered indeterminate and unfixed, inviting viewers to attach their own sense of meaning to the compositions and their inhabitants.


"This allows the work to be more open in terms of how it is read, its meaning and context, and also allows me as a painter to focus on the process of painting.” the artist explains.

While loosely operating within the realm of portraiture, Arie's images challenge conventions of the genre by blurring the boundary between figuration and abstraction. Though a clear representational element is present throughout his work, it is often obfuscated or complicated by Arie's psychedelic rendering.


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