By Eva Maria Verbeek
Article courtesy of Tutto Arabi
The Arabian Horse as a cultural Phenomenon.
The work of the Dutch artist Fred Verbeek has a deep philosophical basis and a strong Arabian cultural background.
Does he not only represent the Arabian Horse through an extraordinary art technique, he also tries to connect both art historical and cultural historical elements in his work.
As a consequence, Fred Verbeek's art is unique in every possible way.
Especially Verbeek's extraordinary layer-on-layer painting technique.
Using transparent colours, often referred as 'clear as water', make a strong impression on the public. Sometimes more than thirty five layers have been applied. By putting layer after layer of diluted paint, a dynamic glowing transparency is created and new colours arise.
Verbeek's interest in the Arabian Horse starts in Belgium halfway the Nineteen seventies. He starts to work as a self-employed artist while his wife works at a nearby classical horse-riding school. In 1977 Verbeek has his first solo exhibition in Opoeteren (Belgium) with his Equestrian portraits of Hildegart Jansen. His work is well received, as he sells everything during the opening of the exhibition.
When Verbeek returns to The Netherlands in the early eighties, his interest in the Arabian culture has increased, as he deepens his knowledge of the Arabian Horse and his roots. As a consequens, he starts to process fragments of Arabian poetry in some of his work.
During the nineties, his work is being exposed in London and Verbeek starts to get well-known by some people from the Arabian continent.
At this crucial moment he decides to move to Andalucia in 1994, the southern part of Spain which has an ancient rooted culture with a very strong Arabian inheritance. The historical Arabian atmosphere inspires Verbeek. In 1996 he has his work exposed in his new home country.
At the exhibition in Ronda, the Spanish town, he pushes the button of the Andalusian public with his series " In Memoria" and "La Resurrection", wich booth are inspired by the famous Spanish "rejoneador" ( a bull fighter riding on the back of a horse) Ginez Cartajena who died in car crash one year earlier.
In the late nineties, Verbeek creates the Horse Series "Idea of the Philosopher" and " The Dance Of The Gods", two series in which his actual complex topics inspired by some great philosophers find a basis.
The first, "Idea of the Philosopher", is inspired by Plato's Allegory of the Cave. The second, The Dance Of The Gods, is a series of both drawings and paintings to which Verbeek nowadays still keeps adding new work.
A few years after the millennium, Verbeek draws the attention of Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Al Thani, the owner of the Al Rayyan Farm in Qatar which breeds straight Egyptian Arabian horses. Verbeek is invited to expose his work at the International Arabian Horse Show 2008 in Qatar, which is a great success.
Nowadays, Verbeek's art is even more than before inspired by the Arabian culture, only now it has a more post modern approach. In his new series, Verbeek wants to disseminate the cultural heritage of the representation of the Arabian horse in general. He wants to represent the horse as a cultural phenomenon. Like a true contemporary post modern artist, Verbeek does this by including the historical experience of the horse as an object in art and mythology. Two of Verbeek's more recent Horse Series are titled "Unexpected Encounter in Incomplete Landscape" and "In The Garden of Ibn Hazm". This last one has, of course, a very poetical starting point, in addition to "Unexpected Encounter", which is more mundane.
Starting now, Fred Verbeek will publish his first rare Graphic Limited Edition print of his Horse Series "In The Garden Of Ibn Hazm",
In cooperation with Tutto Arabi. The first twelve prints have an extra element, for every print has its own, unique addition, hand-painted
by Fred Verbeek himself.