Niels Smits van Burgst | 2018-07-31 Upstream
oil on canvas, 110 x 190 cm, 2018

In the paintings by Niels Smits van Burgst the paradise of eternal leisure time seems to have arrived. You mainly see land-like boys who drink their tough hubris in alcohol, making pictures of each other in an environment that imperturbably includes their insignificance.

The painter gets his inspiration from pictures on the internet, in which a mental emptiness, a clumsy toughness and an incapable amateurism are celebrated in youth leisure photography. Yet that does not make the paintings cynical.

His figures often even get a monumental character. They have been absorbed by the paint in their environment. Their emptiness becomes an abstraction on the one hand, and a scene from a contemporary mythology on the other. Smits van Burgst literally balances between the abstract image and the mythology of the scene.

In the casual internet photos all depth is avoided. In the paintings, however, it appears more than is present, both in form and technique and in content. They represent the image of a Western society, adolescent searching for maturity, and an artist who seeks perfection and gives meaning to the void.

Bertus Pieters, publicist / art historian 2017