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Literature Review

Updated: May 25, 2022


This literature review takes an in-depth look into my painting practice exploring the reasons behind the developing context of my work as well as unpacking the methodology of my processes and the motivations for my creative expression.

I will take a close look into the book The Love of Painting: Genealogy of a Success Medium by German art historian Isabelle Graw to help me understand how the material characteristics of painting aid in the projective expression of the artists intentions. This idea supports how I connect the physicality of painting to my field of discourse.

I then investigateThe Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age by Simon Schama to help me understand my cultural heritage from a historical viewpoint, especially given Dutch history is so rich in the territory of painting. This supports the acknowledgement of my identity which inherently translates into my practice.

The Body in Contemporary Art by Sally O’Reilly is then considered because she explores how the body is employed in its multiplicity of artistic intent. This speaks directly to my practice through its subjectivity and my field of discourse.

Lastly I discuss The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit because she makes a really in-depth personal account of subjective experiences that provides a psychosocial discourse, highlighting relationship dynamics and individual agency. Solnit’s writings provide me with a guide to understanding and opening up the context of my work.


In her book The Love of Painting: Genealogy of a Success Medium, German art historian Isabelle Graw shares an undeniable love for painting, and proposes that painting and love are interconnected and “are like sisters.”1 Graw states that historically, the male artist was projected to be in love with his ‘female’ painting, and, that in a contemporary paradigm, the physical materiality of paint and surface engender that love and “affective potential.”2 Graw discusses the current climate as the ‘post-medium condition’ and questions where painting sits within this. The American art historian, Rosalind Krauss responds to the idea of ‘post-medium’ whereby she describes the opticality of painting as a vector that connects the vertical pictorial surface with the viewer, therefore invoking a phenomenological relationship.3 Graw further expands this definition by describing that the artist has a ghostlike presence in the work – a trace of their physical breath, of the hand moving through paint, and as a record of time and energy spent with the works.4

In describing the artist’s ‘ghost’, Graw draws on a Deleuzian form of vitalism, the concept of ‘aliveness’ or the effect of ‘liveliness’5 which come from engaging with the specific materials of painting. The conditions derived from the material characteristics of painting allow the artist to projectively express a liveliness that unlocks a language and enables a conversation to emerge, setting it apart from other genres. Therefore through painting’s own materiality, the projective expression of each painting becomes possessed with life’s very own spiritual-creative energy which consequently invites the viewer to have an intimate conversation with the artist.6

The concept of projecting love and liveliness through painting to induce emotional engagement relates to the context of my own practice because my work is driven by the psychological visceral layers of human life, including the raw pathos of dynamic human relations and lived experience. The materiality of painting depicts the artist within the works physicality and the artist’s lived experience through the physical material of paint, so the painting is saturated with the life of their creator, enhancing the viewer’s encounter with the work.

This can be seen in my works from the series Pathos (2021) where I aim to convey ambiguous emotive charge and psychological tension through painting. This can be

interpreted as distress, exhaustion, vulnerability, frustration; the complexity of human experience. While my paintings may depict my own ‘ghost’, my own physicality through the expressive application of paint, as Graw proposes, there is also space for the viewer’s encounter, both psychologically and physically, where they can project or read their own emotional position into the painting. While I cannot dictate the “affective potential" 7my paintings exert on a viewer, following Graw’s ideas the specific materiality of the painting itself lends the ability to deeply penetrate a viewer’s “innermost feelings“ through the liveliness of the material.8 But also through the liveliness of the subject depicted by the artist, whereby the figure or the physiognomy of the subject will convey a mood or emotion originally derived by the creator of the painting, the artist.

From Graw’s writing, I find connections with the text discussing the idea that through the act of painting, the painter’s person appears to be brought into play, creating the “phantasmic impression” of a presence that then turns out to be an absence. This can be representative of its creator who is often projected onto the work. 9 Through the subjectivity of my paintings, I endeavour to emanate a psychological tension by constructing meaning, and by doing so I subconsciously reveal myself. Albeit I simultaneously attempt to remain elusive, or invoke a feeling of concealment. I understand that this occurs in my processes because the message that I attempt to communicate contains rich and complex cultural content that I draw on from my own personal lived experience. As a painter, this allows me to bring the ideas to the foreground of discussion. Through paint I can express ideas that are sometimes difficult to say.

Graw proposes this as the “trope of the absent artist’s ghostly presence in the picture”. 10 But she also argues that this can in-fact be a fantasy. That the authentic revelation of the painter’s self, is a direct consequence of the language of painting, and that it's not so much a genuine bearing of the painter’s soul but rather signifiers designed to simulate such an exposure. 11 I question whether this is true? Especially for me, I certainly cannot say that the ideas exposed in my work are a strategic plan to fabricate an authorial presence without actually revealing anything. I truthfully convey my ideas as a tool to foster human connection and expression with the goal of being understood, in hope a viewer will listen to understand. I propose that the physicality of my painting can unknowingly expose the intimacy of human connection by the small traces left by my physical presence. If the painting ignites a thought or memory of a viewer’s own lived experience, then on some level, this resolves my intention of the painting itself. Although essentially it is still a form of my own projective expression.

As a painter, and a lover of painting and especially that painting is considered a language in itself, the genre of painting enables the creator to have a voice in this specific language, and it is most likely the precise reason why I do paint, so as to have agency, to have a voice.


In the book The Embarrassment of Riches by Simon Schama (originally published in 1987) he discusses the history of the Netherlands as a cultural community having the ancient stereotype as being quintessentially bourgeois.12 He explores the quality of social document inherent in Dutch art and he also examines the peculiarities of the Dutch culture and how they could be described as “perfect slaves to cleanliness.”13

To enable me to broaden and deepen my research for the context of my practice, I cannot deny my cultural heritage has a big part to play. I was born in Utrecht, Netherlands in 1971, then immigrated to New Zealand as a child with my family and travelled by ship through the Suez Canal in 1976, subsequently raised in Aotearoa by fiercely patriotic parents with a rich cultural history of Dutch social beliefs and behaviour. My Dutch nationality has most certainly had an influence in both informing my work and as well as forming my view on painterly propositions and how works can be rendered. The Embarrassment of Riches offers me context and a framework to analyse the influence of my Dutch heritage on my current practice.

Schama examines Dutch culture and social history and how the Netherlands was a remarkably stable society by seventeenth-century standards. The culture was a very broad stratum between artisans and trading merchants, without any kind of behavioural segregation, arbitrarily inhabiting the same space. The Netherlands was a society that was predominantly urban, well fed and decently housed, and surprisingly literate for its time; and so consequently a society that nourished a hunger for prints, engraved histories, poems and polemics.

“ Who bought a four-guilder14 genre painting, or a ten-stuiver15 print: a scholar or a shopkeeper?”16

I find resonance with this description of my cultural history, albeit a somewhat ancient rhetoric of what some might call a bourgeoise culture. I uniquely recognise the identity that is addressed here by Schama as my own. I find the description of the Dutch cultural behaviour by Schama to be a direct reflection of my own memories growing up in my household. Raised by Dutch parents who were always very open and expressive (sometimes a little abrasive or abrupt) about even the most personal opinions has probably in some respects conditioned me to be unafraid to address emotional issues and express them in my work. This Dutch trait of culture has a substantial influence on the context of my practice, as I attempt to speak to the viewer in the hope that they can reflect on the familiarity of their own culture and lived experience.

I believe my culture has also programmed me to think in a very structured and orderly way which drives my processes when making decisions in my practice. This can also be woven into the histories and values of society and culture in general, enabling me to communicate and reach beyond my own personal narrative and in the process allow a wider range of readings available to the viewer.

As a Dutch woman and painter working in a contemporary figurative manner in Aotearoa, I identify with the New Zealand culture as well as the Dutch culture . I have to carefully select my work to present and communicate in a context that is a synthesis of resonance requiring careful consideration with tone, detail and personal reference.

Schama addresses the Dutch behavioural culture of cleanliness and describes the cleaning regimes as carried out with 'military precision,'17 very structured, purist processes, tend to be detail orientated and typically strive for precision. I recognise these traits from my Dutch culture and upbringing.

I believe that these traits can be seen in the works of Early Netherlandish Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch (b.1450-1516) famous for The Garden of Earthly Delights, born in Brabant, only 68 kilometres from Utrecht where I was born. In this painting, Bosch paints in a very precise and detailed style with very accurate colour images, depicting a hypnotic and perplexing scene about the creation of the world.

Johannes Vermeer (b.1632-1675), a Dutch Baroque Period painter, from Delft, who specialised in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. His particular attention to the

qualities of light were at the forefront of pictorial technology, seen in works such as Woman Holding a Balance, in figure 1.

Figure 1. Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, c 1664.

Albeit the Old Masters are characterised by subtle symmetries of context, it is considerably different to the social character of my practice. Their paintings were generally very formal and deliberate portraits depicting identity and importance or wealth. For example the Arnolfini Portrait painted by Jan Van Eyck (b.1390-1441) depicting an incredibly wealthy and powerful merchant class couple. My motivations are very different. My paintings attempt to question the psychological layers of human life and relationship dynamics by depicting the pathos of everyday scenes in a realist figurative manner.

Alongside this I want to reference a feminist concept. Female artists from the 17th to the 19th centuries faced huge hurdles. It seems they did not have agency in this male dominated era of artists. In my research I discovered that in most cities throughout Europe, laws or strict rules barred women from important guilds and academies which were set up for artists, and in almost every country they were blocked from the all-important life-drawing classes.18

In my research for any significant female painters from the Golden Age of Dutch painting I learned about Rachel Ruysch (b. 1665-1750), a Dutch still-life painter, who was very successful for her time. She invented her own style and achieved international fame due to a long and successful career that spanned over six decades. She was apparently the best documented woman painter of the Dutch Golden Age.19 Other women at this time were expected to participate in art forms more traditionally practiced by women, such as sewing and spinning. She painted from the age of 15 until she was 83, (which was evident because she included her age when signing her paintings). During this time she was married to Amsterdam portrait painter Juriaen Pool, and had 10 children. She was also the first female member of the Confrerie Pictura ( an academic club of artists founded in 1656.) Art historians consider Ruysch to be one of the most talented still-life artists of either sex,20 as evident in her painting Still-Life with Bouquet of Flowers and Plums in figure 2. I am pleasantly surprised to learn about Rachel Ruysch, but I am shocked that I had to dig to discover her.

Figure 2. Rachel Ruysch, Still-Life with Bouquet of Flowers and Plums, 1704.

As a woman painter in 2022, I consider the ideas that I nurture in my practice and question whether I share any parallels with Ruysch in our overarching intentions through the lens of motherhood? She was an incredibly accomplished woman with a before-her-time mediation of career and family.

Ruysch’s work could be described as an enchanting realism of plants ,influenced by her father who was a physician and a botanist, this inspired her to be obsessed with flora and fauna. Her brushwork was particularly delicate and exceptionally precise. I find her work to be distinctly intellectual, blending rational scientific documentation with eccentric artistry through her delicate touch between the illusion of reality and the pictorial physicality.

A significant contrast to the visceral, innate works of the “male’ Old Masters.

Her work became a crucial means for disseminating scientific knowledge throughout Europe, and through a collaboration with her father, her reputation as a still life artist ballooned. Given the Dutch horticultural industry’s boom at the time, floral still life’s were very fashionable and she sold her canvases for more money than Rembrandt did.

I feel like Rachel Ruysch was a woman who could do it all in the 17th century. Therefore I have to conclude that I most definitely aspire to her and her achievements, both as a woman and an artist.

This rich history has had an insurmountable impact on informing my practice, even though it may occur in a subconscious way being the product of a specific cultural environment. The research and exploration of these historical artists in my neighbourhood has been part of the general enrichment to develop a complexity that my work is beginning to address.

Schama also exemplifies the social document inherent in art and quotes Theophile Thore, a nineteenth century critic-politician, “ What other people has written it's history in its art? ” whereby he is treating art as a kind of historical evidence. He goes on to say that many Dutch paintings do filter the perception of the eye through the lens of moral sensibility and so therefore describes Dutch art not as a literal record of social experience , but as a “document of beliefs.”21

As a painter in the twenty-first century I feel a strong parallel given the context of my work addresses everyday life and lived experience. But, my work does not depict any religious concepts or beliefs, paradoxically there is a consistent reading across my works in terms of narrative addressing the social concepts of relationship dynamics within a family, questioning communicative inequality and exploring who has agency, within the structures of society in culturally sensitive world , as opposed to addressing these religious beliefs.

The Embarrassment of Riches is a dense text that brings to the foreground my cultural heritage and questions where my identity sits in the context of my practice.The Dutch painters of the Golden Age sit inside the overarching field of my discipline. I am exploring where I sit in this territory as a contemporary artist and what associations I can make with this rich history. What I am grappling with is how I can find a reserve space for my practice inside of this field and then take a position in it .


The book The Body in Contemporary Art written by Sally O’Reilly, a writer and art critic, (first published in the United Kingdom in 2009) significantly points to many aspects of my practice as a figurative painter. O’Reilly unpacks the body as a delineating theme in art as a practice. She examines the use of the body in the practice of making art in its materiality, as well as how the body is employed in its multiplicity for new types of artwork and artistic intent. As a figurative painter it is important that I am aware of these complexities of such a vast subject and am able to speak to similarities and differences in my work as well as in the work of other figurative artists in my neighbourhood.

O’Reilly points out a difference between the ‘body’ and the ‘figure’ in art and how the distinction is subtle but important. O’Reilly notes that ‘body’ refers to the experience of inhabiting a body, while the ‘figure’ means we are simply regarding it in the realm of the optical.22 This draws on ideas relevant to my practice identifying themes of a wider cultural, socio-political and philosophical (and psychological) phenomena that informs how the body continues to be pivotal in the context of art and expression of ourselves in the world as we know it.

Understanding that the body is required to make art, any art, even the most dematerialised or conceptual art explicitly requires direct bodily engagement, whether it comes from the mind, from our senses, or from the physicality of our limbs. As previously discussed above, Isabelle Graw talks in depth about the artist’s presence in the materiality of art in relation to painting,23 but I propose that this ‘ghost like‘ presence of the artist may be present within works across others mediums too. This concept begins to describe the bewilderingly vast subject of the body in art.

O’Reilly points out how the important body-orientated work of the feminists in the 1970s was followed by a “retreat to Post-Modern irony ”24 which rendered the vulnerable body irrelevant or even embarrassing. But after a time the readmittance of the human form into art, validated the body’s appearance once more.25 This is an essential aspect of figurative painting for me as I attempt to carve out a position of clear distinction between the body being used as spectacle over contemplation. By this I mean that the visceral and vulnerable body is a potent signifier of lived experience.26 “The figure has become acknowledged as a social, emotional, fallible entity rather than a formal focus or token of utopian ideologies.”27 I understand this to put the body in art into the context of requiring a wider consideration rather than just regarding it, as a figure.

This is very evident in the evocative works of Michaël Borremans where his compliant characters might be interpreted as metaphors for those subjugated by the systematic agency of institutional oppression, or simply victims of their own obliviousness, best elucidated by example in figure 3.28 A visual analysis helps me speak to some similarities with my works, like the empty foreboding backgrounds, often cropping the human form, but mostly, the half told stories with open narratives and the idea of the fragile human condition being depicted by the human body. Although I do not aim to have an otherworldly quality in my concepts like Borremans, I prefer instead to imbue my imagery with human content to connect the work to real lived experience.

Figure 3. Michaël Borremans,One, 2003.

O’Reilly describes the notion of ‘dualism’, or the mind/body split, and she states that in “’classical dualism’ the clean, rational, masculine sphere of the mind is contrasted to the visceral, intuitive, female characteristics of the body.”29 She goes on to say that “in contemporary art practice the body is more likely to be considered the place where rationalism, psychological disarray, natural functionality and cultured desires converge and proposes that it is possible to view the body along cultural, social, emotional and intellectual lines at the same time-to view it as a formal entity to its many contexts.”30

As a woman painter painting bodies that aim to evoke the complexity of psychological tension, I am in support of O’Reilly’s argument. Her proposition that the body in contemporary art is viewed as a formal entity with many contexts. O’Reilly defines the idea of classical dualism as an idea that women are connected to the notion of the (sexual?)body, intuition and deep inward feelings. I propose that this 'theory' effectively assumes that a woman figurative painter is relegated to a one dimensional characterisation, or more specifically, a characterisation that revolves around being woman. With this in mind I believe it would it be reductive and unhelpful to critically centre womanhood in my work. But I think it could possibly be critically unethical to not centre it. I cannot shake the nagging feeling that cisgender men ( a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex) have the privilege of being provocative without their identity being dragged into it. Perhaps this is the reason my subjects, are not truly subjects, but instead symbolic entities- lacking cognitive identity, acting only as vehicles of manipulated expression.

I see the works of artist Rineke Dijkstra, a photographer from Poland, as seen in figure 4, as a good example of the human body transmitting emotion. Dijkstra’s subjects adopt traditional poses that reflect received ideas of identity in attempt to mask their self-doubt, with traces of tension in their faces.31 This work shows the compelling vulnerability of a young girl expressed through her pose.

Figure 4. Rineke Dijkstra, Kolobrzeg, July 26 1992.

Then there is the distinction between the body and the figure, which is best described by the nuance in the experience of inhabiting a body, rather than simply regarding it. A depiction of an impossibility, is an instance of figurative play. A fiction of the body is the expression of an experience or being outside of oneself, or being psychologically fractured. O’Reilly discusses this point by going on to say that figurative artwork tends to reside in realm of the optical, whereas that involving the body requires a wider consideration.32

I believe a good example of playing with the figurative form, is with the work of Baldessari, a conceptual artist, best known for his work featuring altered and adjusted photographic imagery. His work could be described as figurative play because his bodies are recognised as the human form, but are often a depiction of an impossibility, rather than an expression of an experience. His practice of eliminating visually relevant information, strategically placing colourful dots over human faces, invites new ways to read the work. This gives more of a peripheral reading of the body in the world at large, and speaks to non-specific subjectivity with rhetorical ambiguities, as seen in figure 5.

Figure 5. John Baldessari, Three Active Persons/ With Standing Person, 1990.

The history of figurative painting, along with socio-political and cultural developments has had a profound influence on contemporary figurative artists. My work aims to represent the human form in attempt to evoke intellectual or emotional engagement through fluidity of meaning, which is often determined solely by inflection, directly addressing the viewer. One work might not change the whole world, but it might make incremental differences for one person. This is the role I attempt to fulfil as contemporary woman realist figurative painter.

THE FARAWAY NEARBY by Rebecca Solnit

The book The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit ( first published in 2013) is very significant to my practice because it reads as a literary map reflecting the lives and journeys of people, from a deeply personal, philosophical and psychological viewpoint. Solnit’s very personal account of subjective experiences provides interesting psychosocial discourse to show me possible models to elevate the (art)-social context of my own practice.

Solnit writes “I think of human psyches as landscapes".33 I take this to mean that we compare the spirit or soul of a person to a landscape, she uses the example of a flower-spangled meadow to describe happiness verses a swamp to describe an unhappiness.34 I resonate with this notion because I connect it to figurative painting where the ‘landscape’ is personified through the evocation of the atmospheres that emerge in the materiality of painting, which supports the dialogue I am entering into with my work.

As a woman artist it is important that I am aware of the wider social perspectives of human experience and how I translate that into a compelling art practice by attempting to render my voice as an artist in the capacity of my own individual agency. Furthermore I feel that my current practice is developing to serve a slightly broader concept of also giving agency to my subjects. More recently I have been painting members of my family, and through the lens of motherhood ,I feel that I often am presenting their side of the story, rendering a voice for my subjects.

In the Faraway Nearby Solnit’s account of her life and her relationship with her mother is cleverly entwined with the lives of others to create a powerful anecdote which draws on ideas that are important to my own work, being the visceral layers of human life and the complexity of relationship dynamics.

Solnit discusses a theory of communication by analysing the concept of the voice, in direct reference to her own voice, and in her case how this translated into writing books from a young age. Solnit recounts that as a child she hardly spoke, because “she was in fear of being mocked, punished or exposed.”35 I feel there is a strong parallel here for me, which, like Solnit, directly relates to my relationship with my mother. I never developed my voice as a child, as a result of my parenting, most likely due to my loud, outspoken very Dutch mother. Like Solnit, I was a timid child, whose relationship with her mother was complicated: “For mothers, some mothers, my mother, daughters are division, that reduce them, fracture them and take from them.”36

Solnit recounts the occurrence: “ You freeze up in childhood, you go numb, because you cannot change your circumstances and to recognise, name and feel the emotions and their cruel causes would be unbearable, and so you wait”37

I think this is a very good account of how it feels to be a child that loses the ability to speak and so consequently becomes marginalised within the structure of their own nuclear family dynamics. I understand that this is precisely why Rebecca Solnit became a writer, it gave her a dialogical space for communicative reason, this is how she subconsciously crafted her voice.

This is a pivotal aspect of my own practice. I believe the reason I am a painter is because I have learn’t that I can speak through my paintings, materialising my voice into my work, without fear of direct confrontation. More recently this has developed even further because I am painting family members, so it has become more nuanced than just my voice that is being heard. The complex relational connections are then depicted in a non-judgemental space. I have often made the comment- if I could sing, I wouldn’t need to paint- ( but unfortunately I can’t…)

Solnit proposes that the object of a book is not a real book, it's actually the potential of the book being like a “musical score or seed”38 and that it exists fully only in the act of being read; and it's real home is inside the head of the reader- where the “ symphony resounds , the seed germinates”, a book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.39 I entirely resonate with this concept of the book only being ‘alive’ by being read by a reader, because this proposal can also be intrinsically transferred to a viewer viewing or a painting. If a painting is not viewed, there is no conversation, it remains inside the artists mind, therefore the intention of the painting is not resolved.

Solnit has advantages in the capacity of being a writer with literary accounts enabling her to craft her voice through poetic resonance and articulating her consciousness and experience through the dialects of poetry and storytelling. These characteristics of writing are ingredients that make books strikingly different to painting as a compelling art practice.

Visual artists, especially the genre of figurative painting is limited to what can be depicted or suggested, purely through attempting to evoke emotion or atmosphere by narrative figuration only, although Solnit does make comment about this saying “At its best, visual art is philosophy by other means and poetry without words”. 40

Conversely there is the old adage; a picture is worth a 1000 words, meaning that complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single image, which conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a mere verbal description. Solnit asks the question “ Is it that the tongue fails where the fingers succeed, in telling truths so lengthy and nuanced that they are almost impossible aloud.”41

Nevertheless, whether writing or painting, I perceive the voice of artists is given individual agency through the structures of our society. The really interesting nuance of projecting your voice through art, is beautifully elucidated by Solnit who goes on to hypothesise that “Writing is saying to no one and to everyone the things it is not possible to say to someone.”42 I relate this to my practice of painting because somehow when I craft my voice into the language of painting, ‘I am talking to no one and to everyone’ and in some such way that takes the ‘fear of speaking’ away- for me. I believe for that reason painting allows me to express my conversation without inhibition.

Solnit also points out that walking into an exhibition is like walking into the middle of a conversation,43 and as an artist, to have something to say is one thing; to have someone to hear is another.44 She extrapolates by proposing that this listening is not passive but active, and that you meet it halfway, if you meet it.45 This aligns with my own world view that acknowledges a vital interdependency within the structures of society and culture that fosters the infrastructure for communication. As a woman painter, I have developed my voice through a painterly language, but I propose that the capacities for this voice could still be marginalised by the constructs of society.

The Faraway Nearby offers me context and a framework to analyse the intention behind my current practice and helps me to understand why I paint in the territory of social relationship psychology. The way in which Solnit writes, also offers me a template for thinking about how connections and meaning is made through different ways of communicating and understanding the relationship dynamics, especially with those closest to us.

Taking an in-depth look into these texts that I find very relevant to my practice has helped me to gain deeper understanding of the overarching aims of my practice.

A realisation that the genre of painting enables the creator to have a voice in the specific language of painting. An analyses of the influence of my Dutch heritage on my current practice. An understanding of my role as a woman painter and the rationale behind using the human form to evoke emotional engagement. And a deeper discernment of the psychosocial discourse that divulges my intentions.

Considering how my field of inquiry, my processes and my questions fit together, I now feel I have a better understanding of my practice as it is currently developing.

1. Isabelle Graw, The Love of Painting: Genealogy of a Success Medium ( Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2018),9. 2. Graw, The Love of Painting, 20. 3. Gabreila Galati, “The Postmedium Condition, or Better: Art-at-Large,” Interdisciplinary Italy, March 16, 2016, 4. Ibid.,20. 5. Ibid.,34 6. Ibid.,16. 7. Ibid.,20. 8. Ibid.,19. 9. Ibid.,51. 10. Ibid.,52. 11. Ibid., 52

12. Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches: an interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age (New York: Vintage Books,1997), 6 13. Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches, 377. 14. Guilder-Dutch currency;. Cambridge dictionary,accessed April 4, 2022, 15. Stuiver-Dutch Currency 16. Ibid.,4 17. Ibid., 376 18. Judd Tully, Auctions “ Are Female Old Masters an Untapped Market or a Marketing Ploy? Experts Are Divided, But Buyers Don’t Seem to Care,” Artnet, February 5, 2019, 19 .“”, The Interactive Fine Art Gallery, accessed April 24, 2022, 20. The National Gallery, “Rachel Ruysch,” accessed May 24, 2022, 21. Ibid., 10. 22. Sally O’Reilly, The Body in Contemporary Art ( United Kingdom: Thames & Hudson, 2009), 7.

23. Graw, The Love of Painting, 16. 24. O’Reilly, The Body,7. 25. Ibid., 8. 26. Ibid., 18.

27. Ibid.,18. 28. Michaël Borremans, Michaël Borremans: As sweet as it gets,( Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2014),11. 29. O’Reilly, The Body,8. 30. Ibid.,8. 31. Ibid.,22. 32. Ibid.,10. 33. Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby (Great Britain: Granta Publications,2013),25. 34. Solnit, The Faraway Nearby, 25. 35. Solnit, The Faraway Nearby, 63. 36. Ibid., 21. 37. Ibid.,25. 38. Ibid.,63. 39. Ibid.,63. 40. Ibid.,192. 41. Ibid.,64. 42. Ibid.,64. 43. Ibid., 192. 44. Ibid.,193. 45. Ibid,.195.


Borremans,Michaël. Michaël Borremans: As sweet as it gets. Ostfilder: Hatje Cantz, 2014.

Cambridge Dictionary. Accessed April 4, 2022,

Galati, Gabriela. “The Postmedium Condition, or Better: Art-at-Large,” Interdisciplinary

Italy, March 16, 2016,

Graw, Isabelle, The Love of Painting: Genealogy of A Success Medium. Berlin: Sternberg

Press, 2018.

O’Reilly, Sally. The Body in Contemporary Art. United Kingdom: Thames & Hudson, 2009.

Schama, Simon. The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age. New York: Vintage Books, 1987.

Solnit, Rebecca. The Faraway Nearby. Great Britain: Granta Publications,2013.

The National Gallery, “Rachel Ruysch.” Accessed May 24, 2022,

Interactive Fine Art Gallery. “” Accessed April 24, 2022,



1. Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance, 1662, oil on canvas, 3970mm x 3550mm, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, accessed May 2nd, 2022,

2. Rachel Ruysch, Still-Life with Bouquet of Flowers and Plums, 1704, oil on canvas, 920mm x 700mm, Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Belgium, accessed April 24, 2022,

3. Michaël Borremans, One, 2003, oil on canvas, 700mm x 600mm, Private collection, Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, in Michaël Borremans: Eating the Beard, (Germany: Hatje Cantz,2012), 57.

4. Rineke Dijkstra, Kolobrzeg, colour photograph, ’dimensions unknown,’ 1992, Poland, in The Body in Contemporary Art, (London: Thames & Hudson, 2009), 33.

5. John Baldessari, Three Active Persons/ With Standing Person, 1990, Colour photographs, vinyl paint, 2340mm x 1470mm, Sonnabend Gallery, New York, in Baldessari: While something is happening here, something else is happening there: Works 1998-1999, 67.


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