Renie Spoelstra (1974, Drachten) lives and works in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The intention of the huge charcoal drawings of Renie Spoelstra is to let the viewer experience an atmosphere of deliberate apathy; hours and days go by in a split second, every moment frozen in time and every moment equal to the other. Consequently, characteristics of actual observations are diminished, making the unique more common and indefinite, so that they can function as a substitute for many similar places.

Renie Spoelstra’s arduous process of drawing always begins with a journey. For close to a decade, she has travelled to coasts, lakes and forests throughout North America, Europe and most recently Peru, looking for landscapes that evoke overwhelming existential feelings.

Spoelstra uses film footage as a starting point for her charcoal drawings. The suede like and velvety texture is achieved by the many layers of charcoal, which are skillfully positioned on top of each other to re-create an almost cinematographic scene. The balance between darkness and soft beams of light is rendered through the many shades of black and grey, creating a notion that something may be lurking below the surface.

Themes of intensity, secrecy and mystery are reoccurring in Spoelstra’s works. There is an alluring and mythical feel of a place. The series ‘Stretching Universe’ refers to the scientific fact that our universe is expanding, while here on earth it feels as though it is shrinking with the rise of xenophobia, narrow-mindedness and the continuous threats of climate change. Fleeing, or escaping to nature is not as easy as it may seem.

Renie Spoelstra studied at St. Joost, Breda and at the Academie Minerva, Groningen. She has exhibited in the Netherlands and abroad, notably at institutions like the Louvre-Lens, Albertina, Vienna, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Kunsthal Rotterdam, Museum Belvedere Heerenveen, Rijksmuseum Twenthe and Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Her work is included in renowned collections such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris, MACBA Barcelona, Collection Frac Picardie Amiens, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Centraal Museum Utrecht, Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Amstelveen, Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, the Guerlain Foundation, Paris, De Nederlandsche Bank, Bouwfonds Collection, The National Collection of the Netherlands, Teylers Museum Haarlem, The Louis Dreyfus Family Collection NY, De Ru Collectie and many other (private) collections worldwide.