Peter de Boer (The Netherlands, 1979) is primarily a painter. By combining layering and the use of oil paint he creates a depth that allows the viewer to enter the art work. His paintings express the longing for a return to simplicity and nature: endorsing sustainable living, organic produce and fair trade, while at the same time acknowledging and accepting our cultivated modern surroundings.
Presenting serene and dreamy landscapes, filled with detail and specks of light. Recurring elements in his work are tents, huts, caravans and treehouses; these places can be associated with protection, survival and safety, but at the same time carry a sense of childhood adventure, curiosity and exploration. The same versatility can be seen in other recurring themes: the icebears, being both endearing and dangerous; and the surf scenes, representing sports and playfulness, but also heightened consciousness and awareness of nature.
Peter de Boer feels strongly connected to the sea. Intense nature experiences such as described and painted in Romanticism are a source of inspiration and starting point for de Boer. On a surfboard in the North Sea, surrounded by nothing but sea and swell, with a view of the horizon or towards the beach and dunes. In it he finds an image of the infinite, the passive contemplation of the eternal, during a temporary moment. The horizon is a foothold but at the same time is a natural limit that indicates infinity. When the sun disappears behind it, a sense of time and transience arises. Perhaps that is why we often let ourselves be tempted into melancholy when we set our sights on the horizon.
De Boer often shows a path leading to the sea in his seascapes and dune landscapes. The sea as a destination or goal is a metaphor for freedom. Sometimes there are people in the landscapes or seascapes. Surfers, beachcombers and naval heroes; it is those who are attracted to the sea. His paintings are an aesthetic rendition of freedom and infinity, but at the same time show a sublime threat that frightens us as it transforms from rippling to a savage lure.
When, in those days, travelers pulled blindfolded through the Alps of Italy in order not to see the cruel nature, in nature as we know it the traces of human presence are almost always visible in the landscape. This human presence deems Boer as both reassuring and disturbing.
Reassuring because it indicates that the area is not completely inhospitable, a certain safety is experienced, if one is 'among the people' or sees another ship or cabin, one is not alone. Unification with nature does not seem to be reserved for man. Although nature can evoke aesthetic pleasures, at the same time it turns out to be inhospitable. But in this case, with signs of human presence, the landscape seems tamed and under control.
Disturbing, on the other hand, because the same humanity peoples, depletes, pollutes and even destroys the natural beauty with ever increasing speed. The balance turns out to go completely the wrong way and environmental organizations worldwide raise alarms. Do we still know how to turn the tide in time, do we still gain insight and do we go into action before it is too late?