Self taught photographer Bas Meeuws (°1974, The Netherlands) is inspired by the historical flower paintings of the Golden Age. The painters used to combine flowers from different seasons to achieve a dreamlike and timeless bouquet of exquisite beauty. Meeuws does the same. He photographs flowers separately and combines them with Photoshop emulating the same artificial beauty.
In the photograph above (#92) he takes the flower composition to a modern aesthetics: a copper design table, a modern vase, all flowers are full and perfect. Some irony slips in when he composes the bouquet, in between the classical tulips and peonies he places kale leaves and a flowering bean stem.The curved line of the tulip is repeated in the body of a blue dragonfly. The pattern in the vase is repeated in the spots on the butterfly and the caterpillars. While looking at Meeuws’ work you continue to discover new details over and over again.
The reflection of a window in the photograph above (#65) is a clear reference to the classical flower compositions with the same characteristic such as the paintings of Jan Davidsz. de Heem. In the reflection you can see shutters, houses and a cloudy sky. Meeuws constructed this image, had it printed on poster format and hung this poster opposite to the set up with the vase in his studio. By shining a flashlight on the poster the image was reflected on the vase. So what we see is a real reflection of an artificial image.
In the work above (#41) lots of insects are to be discovered such as the hoverfly. Meeuws includes hoverflies in most of his works as a tribute to historical flower painter Jan van Huijsum who seemed to use this particular insect as a signature.
I discovered the works of Bas Meeuws in the Power Flower exhibition in the Rockox house in Antwerp. The setting of the photographs in this historical house close to the works that have inspired this contemporary artist was really stunning.
Check out his beautiful artist website here.