September 2008
Acrylic on canvas
$2300
  October 2010
Acrylic on canvas
$2300
 


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Jack Vander Wal

Statement: Art for a World Gone Mad - September 2016

Jack VanderWal was born in 1924 in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands and grew up in a strict business environment in which there was no place the arts and yet his main interest was poetry and painting.

During the 1940 Nazi invasion of Holland, his passage into manhood was sudden and shocking. Their conviction was that this was a war of good against evil and in the end good would triumph. Peace would be a world where the fundamental of all laws would prevail, namely: "to love they neighbour as thyself."

After the liberation of 1945, there was no time for grieving in the effort to adjust to a normal life. In 1952, Jack immigrated to Western Canada. Shortly after his arrival in Canada he was plagued by "flash-backs" from the war experience, but art became his healer and he painted in his spare time.

“In an insecure world, war wakes people up from a moral stupor. It is a time when morals are fully tested. In contrast, men tend to become proud of their vices in a secure and prosperous world.

My moral awakening came during the Nazi occupation of Holland, from 1940-1945, when I was 16-20 years old. Many of my childhood friends and comrades did not live to see their 20th birthday. This war drastically changed my priorities and perspectives. The postwar era quickly became secure and prosperous. So I was an anomaly in a world fueled by heroic materialism.”

During the 50s, Jack had difficulty connecting with the art climate of North America. He felt the arts were based on intellectualizing a concept rather than that which was authentic. Driven by a need to bring a life of strife and conflict to an aesthetic conclusion, he started to study and work in isolation away from artists and art centres.

In 1976, Jack move to Nova Scotia and since that time has worked in an environment of sea and wilderness while living on the shore of the Bay of Fundy.

“From my isolated place and from viewing the world I conclude that humanity has not learned much from the past. We are now overcome by a junk-culture entertaining us with vice, violence and killings, and the authentic is replaced by fantasy lands and theme parks. Today, my prime nourishment for my soul is my natural surroundings, resonating the love its Creator - the Light from the timeless and spaceless, which is the standard and origin of what is authentic and aesthetic.”

I have supported a family of 5 children while compulsively painting. I have produced a large body of work, reflecting not only the times I have lived in but also the development and maturing growth of a soul.”

BIOGRAPHY

In 1940 German armed forces invaded Holland the the threatening Nazi regime became an everyday reality for tens of thousands of people including Jack Vander Wal, who was then 16 years old. He had been born in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, in 1924 and spent his youth in a dominating commercial environment however, his interests were with the arts, particularly poetry and painting.

During the past forty years Vander Wal has complusively painted, first in his spare time and later full time. He immigrated to Alberta in 1952 and then in 1976 to an isolated residence in Nova Scotia. He supported a family and raised five children while working as a farm worker and later in the field of plant genetics. Throughout this time he continued to paint whenever he could. Haunted by the trama of the war, Jack’s expression was deeply rooted in the sadness and horror of death and destruction. in 1983 his work took a new direction, as his inspiration came from his natural surroundings. “Art became my healer”, he stated. “The prime nourishment for my soul became my natural surroundings, resonating the love of its Creator-the Light from the timeless and spaceless, which is the standard and origin of what is authentic and aesthetic.”

At the age of 87 , he continues to paint everyday with a passion that often leaves him speechless with exhaustion. “In my life, I have produced a large body of work, reflecting not only the times I have lived in but also the development and maturing growth of a soul.”

Jack Vander Wal’s paintings are found in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, the Art Bank of Alberta, the Government of Alberta, the Art Bank of Nova Scotia, Petro-Canada, Teleglobe Canada and others.