Inspired by summer, the new canvas collection by artist Meinke Flesseman features underwater perspectives and shows her gaze over the light reflections in the water
Born in Holland, Meinke moved to the Algarve at just two years old. She spent part of her youth studying Fine Arts and travelled through countries such as England, Japan and Russia. She returned to the region 23 years ago and chose to settle in Olhão. Her first exhibition was in 1998, at the Convento de São José, in Lagoa.
Meinke Flesseman describes painting as something intrinsic to her daily life. So much so, in fact, that her biggest inspiration is precisely her surrounding environment, mirroring a close relationship with people, nature and animals. She focuses mostly on oil painting and acrylic on canvas, but also has experience in azulejos (tiles). Describing her style as figurative, her work is characterised by layered textures, depths and intensity in the colours, taking the audience on a full emotional and sensorial journey.
With the scenario that the year 2020 brought, Meinke Flesseman has shown her artistic versatility. From the beginning, and with the lockdown, the artist focused on “the empty streets, the expectation and the uncertainty”, she says. And so was born the Strange Days in 2020 collection of oil paintings, with colder and darker shades, highlighting the idea of social isolation.
On the other hand, her latest collection of 15 paintings showcases the relief from a less positive phase, where the warmer colours and the saturation show a more peaceful panorama. This interpretation is also transposed to some titles of the works themselves, such as Reemerging or Coming up for air — the artist’s favourites, which, in her own words, “came out quickly”. The blues, greens and whites explore the water, diving, the pool and the beach and the audience experiences a sensation of relaxation, joy and freshness, characteristics of vacation, proving, again, the awareness she has for her environment.
In this collection, Meinke explores water, a theme already common in her paintings and abstractionism. “Most of the works are in acrylic, but there are some in oil. Three canvases are from an underwater perspective, painted from photos I took. The rest is a combination of overwater images, from the beach and the pool. The abstraction is great because I wanted to capture the reflections, the light, the lines, the mosaics and the patterns that the light itself creates. What attracted me was precisely the abstract, the distortion and the play of colours,” she explains.
Meinke Flesseman began painting at almost 30 years old, in Moscow, after realising that a career in jewellery did not allow for the artistic freedom she craved. Looking back over more than two decades of work, the artist says she notices “differences, evolution and maturity”. For her, an ideal day has to be dedicated to painting. “That doesn’t mean I’ll spend the day painting a canvas. It’s everything that involves, the search for inspiration, the research, the preparation” and even commissions. The artists receives requests from all over the country, from various parts of Europe and has even sent a painting to a client in Australia. “My works are all over the world and, at the moment, I have a lot of orders,” she reveals.
The artist believes the lockdown has changed the way people view their homes. “I’ve done several smaller sales for people who were in confinement. Not that I had any more orders, but I noticed that people started to take an interest in art and different appreciation for it”, Meinke says. “Consumerism is not as valuable anymore. Why spend so much money on a piece of clothing if you can’t go out and show it off? However, you can invest in your home and the beauty of its interior. I think people are more aware of that. Many value the indoor spaces in their homes because they spend more time there now.”
There are already plans for her next collection: “I’m going back to landscapes. I have always really enjoyed nature and I value it even more now. I’m always fascinated by the end-of-summer light and I can’t wait for it to get here.” Meanwhile, those looking to discover Meinke’s work can find it at the Fresh Colours exhibition, curated by Ben Austin Projects, at the newly inaugurated Fresco Art Gallery, in Almancil. Available in two different sizes, her works are available from €1,000 to €3,000. Meinke’s paintings will be joined by works from Teresa Sofia Paulino, Jessica Dunn, Evelyne Brader-Frank, Rui Pedro and Sen & Friends.