Anna Belleforte

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longevity and archival quality of art

Posted by Anna Belleforte on July 8, 2019 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I’ve been developing a new series of paintings with a combination of media that I’ve been avoiding: fragmented printed matter along with paint. It creates a fantastic effect – hyperrealism with a painterly quality. I’ve felt hesitant doing this because I cannot guarantee the colour-fastness of the integrated magazine pictures over time. I simply don’t know how these image fragments, even with medium and varnish cover, will fare on constant exposure to daylight. But then for that matter, we also don’t know yet how acrylic will perform as it’s a relatively recent medium. Because I studied Art History and have such respect for the old masters, I’ve always felt the need to make art with pigments that had lasting quality, that would survive centuries. (Whether or not the work was good enough to make it through, well, who can ever be sure of that?!)

But I’ve come to realize that the work I make and which is bought by someone who loves it, is a record of our current times and may not even be as loved in 50 years. Certainly that has been the way of art history: art from the most recent past is rejected, abhorred, only to be appreciated much later again. So does it matter that what I make retains its colour brilliance in 100 years? Maybe not, is my conclusion. Yet I do continue to try, so I cover my work in UV-protection varnish. There may be hope for the future. I read recently about experiments being done at Wageningen University, learning from and replicating photonic materials such as that found in peacocks, beetles and butterflies – whose colours never fade, even in fossil form.


inspiration from past art

Posted by Anna Belleforte on July 1, 2019 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (0)

There is so much wonderful art out there, I sometimes think: what on earth am I contributing? What I have learned is to be true to your own perspectives, how you see things. This is the only way to make truly original art. Of course I’m influenced by art that I see online and in museums, but it’s the combination of how I see things and how my hands work that makes an artwork my own. One of my favourite painters is Wayne Thiebaud. Not for his cakes and candy (though these are great), but his urban landscapes in which he dares to use colour and vertiginous angles. It’s tempting to ‘copy’ aspects for use in my own way of seeing and interpreting. But I’ll never be Wayne, and my context is different. Nonetheless, the childlike quality of his paintings inspire me and have let me see that powerful colour is a huge draw. No need to suppress it.

instant art connection

Posted by Anna Belleforte on June 13, 2019 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Kunst in het Volkspark in Enschede is a lovely art market. The people are friendly and enthusiastic, it's busy with people and activities, and it was a gorgeous day! One artwork went to a woman who fell in love with it instantly, for the colours, historic feel and subject matter. Sometimes you see it and you just know. 

open air market in Enschede

Posted by Anna Belleforte on June 8, 2019 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I will be exhibiting on Sunday, 9 June, at 'Kunst in het Volkspark' in Enschede. Works on display include the Irrealities, Neither Here Nor There, Myth-building and Architactile series - many discounted! Come and see me between 11 and 5.

art society membership

Posted by Anna Belleforte on March 25, 2019 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I am excited to announce that I’ve been accepted into the prestigious De Ploegh Society of Artists, established in 1934. New member artists will be exhibiting in the summer. Details to come.

I’ve also been asked to submit for Diepenheim’s Kunstmoment again for the their anniversary exhibition, after reviewing all the artists they’ve hosted over the past 15 years.


final thoughts in Vietnam

Posted by Anna Belleforte on February 14, 2019 at 4:45 AM Comments comments (0)

This trip was an opportunity to observe a country in development towards urbanism and a culture rich in symbolism and artistic expression. And one that celebrates this. I saw turtles (symbolic of longevity) everywhere in sculpture form, often as feet to support important things. In Hue I witnessed amazing technical skill in ‘painting’ with silk threads. In an exhibition in HCMC the sale of an artwork is celebrated with a big red bow (instead of a tiny red dot) – how lovely is that? I also loved the stylistic simplicity of the ‘cloud’ sculptures on the roof ridges of many temples, and the dogs that roamed and slept freely there to find the peace they needed. At night when there’s a full moon, burning candles in paper lanterns floated on the Perfume River towards the sea. These are prayers set out by individuals and monks at the pagodas. It creates a beautiful line of orange dots in slow procession. Though the chaotic urbanism can be hard to take at times, there are always moments of respite. This is what I take with me.

pious places

Posted by Anna Belleforte on February 12, 2019 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

The one place to find peace and calm in the cities is in the religious structures dotted throughout the country. The temples, pagodas, churches, Buddha shrines and Imperial tombs all have clear and symbolic shapes. I think it’s also a deliberate feature of the Vietnamese places of worship to have very high steps up: by having to make an effort to reach them, you are showing respect. What I’ve been most impressed with is the decoration. The temples and, south of Hue, the tombs of past Emperors are full of mosaic walls built not from tesserae as we know it in Europe, but smashed glass and ceramics. Brown and green beer bottle necks form images of bamboo, soup spoons are great for forming petals, broken blue and white porcelain give lovely patterns. And an amazing sense of realism is achieved. Why shards? I asked. Because these materials provide quality suitable for temple use. They contain strong colours that will last without ever needing repainting, and there is a reciprocal honour at play: every day utensils are imbued with honour by being used in a temple, and the temple is being honoured by the use of handmade things humans need for life. It’s just beautiful work!

no mud, no lotus

Posted by Anna Belleforte on February 10, 2019 at 5:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The lotus plays a big part in urban decorative features in all the places I’ve visited in Vietnam – in particular as light sculptures. HCMC has a whole variety of lotus lanterns, Can Tho has the pedestrian bridge with a huge lotus defined in pink neon, serving as kind of pavilion on the bridge, and Hue has simple yellow lotus shapes on a (beer-sponsored) arch over the main street (Le Loi). It’s interesting to me that ornamental lights, most often linear in nature, seem important to urban beautification here. It all has a certain ‘cartoon’ or graphic quality to it, using lights to outline a shape or symbol that as local significance. The lotus (or water lily) is particularly important because it’s seen as representing triumph over adversity: the beautiful, classy lotus rises above its muddy roots, it’s able to flourish despite its ‘dirty’ surroundings, be odourless in spite of a smelly environment. And yet, as the Vietnamese say, without mud, there’s no lotus.

Hue Vietnam, Imperial city

Posted by Anna Belleforte on February 8, 2019 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Hue has a nice balance. The imperial city, on the Perfume River – so named because of the smell of sweet grasses from upriver – has a citadel/city on one bank and an urbanized core on the other. Buildings on the citadel side are regulated to not exceed the heights of the citadel walls (originally by a French building ordinance, I believe), while modern high-rises are permitted on the other side. What typifies both sides is a kind of civilized feel and spacious planning I’ve not yet seen in other Vietnamese cities. There’s a riverside park with lovely landscaping, stone sculptural art throughout (thanks to an art biennial), and a floating boardwalk away from traffic.
Building a citadel in central Vietnam was attempted on two earlier sites, but the ground was too soft. In the end – at the beginning of the 19th century – they opted for fortuitous Feng Shui building principles: facing a river (which brings prosperity) and backed by high grounds (serving as protection).

Vietnamese contemporary art and TVs

Posted by Anna Belleforte on February 6, 2019 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I’m happy to see that there are active studios and art training going on. Much of the art for sale is strongly based on a realistic portrayal of the Vietnamese environment: boat and sea scenes, jumbled towns, agrarian fields, local plants and flowers, culturally inspired portraits… And many have real painterly quality: lots of texture, expressive brushstrokes and palette-knife use, bold colour choices, calligraphic marks, etc. What I’m seeing is only the commercial end of things, probably producing what the tourist is likely to want to buy, but I expect the representational work is also a reflection of Vietnamese identity: this is their reality. It fits in with the ‘paint what you know’ mantra. On the road I also passed another form of creativity: someone using what they knew, or had collected. Bulky old computer monitors piled up into a fence at the perimeter of a property. Ingenious! Just like brick work: great patterns, unified colour and proportions, and maybe even something philosophical? Blank screens, leaving only your own reflection…