Many artists have created botanical studies for hundreds of years, using a wide variety of different mediums including photography. Portraying the beauty of the plant or flower has been of interest to many photographers: from 1920s' artists Fox Talbot, Anna Atkins and Karl Blossfeldt, right up to Robert Mapplethorpe and Irving Penn, each with their own distinctive styles.
"I have a different relationship with the plants because I’ve literally grown up with them... my everyday experience with the plants is very extensive, and I think the images are a result of that experience."
- Ron Van Dongen
Virginia Wolff observed that until we can comprehend the beguiling beauty of a single flower, we are woefully unable to grasp the meaning and potential of life itself.
Ron Van Dongen brings a new and fresh contemporary approach to botanical illustration. His wonderfully clear high-key prints are much sought after and his brooding dark flower portraits offer us an illuminated insight into the often strange but always wonderful natural forms that exist in nature. Although he was born in Venezuala in 1961, Van Dongen grew up in the Netherlands where he originally studied the health sciences. In 1989 he moved to San Francisco where he studied art, polishing his printing skills under the tutorage of Roger Minick, a fine art photographer and expert printer.
Working in a traditional manner by growing almost all of the plants and flowers he photographs, Van Dongen works at home in California in his daylight studio, focusing on the essence of the particular plant. Whilst detail is always present, Van Dongen always manages to achieve an ‘aura’ which lifts the image beyond the simple photograph. Each and every print is hand-made by Van Dongen to exacting standards and it is here as well as in the darkroom where the magic occurs.
His work has been featured in such publications as Provacateur, Foto Netherland, and View Camera and hisbeautifully printed book; Alba Nero (Nazraeli Press, 1999) was met with great esteem.
The Michael Hoppen Gallery is proud to present a new body of work created by this master photographer and print maker. We offer the botanical enthusiast a unique opportunity to view and purchase master prints by Ron Van Dongen.