contemporary art / history of art

Artwork of the Month / April 2023

Fringe Nature #12/2017, Sri Lanka
Jacquie Maria Wessels

Analogue C-Print
120 cm x 120 cm, Edition of 7
70 cm x 70 cm, Edition of 10

The photo “Fringe Nature #12/2017, Sri Lanka” by the Dutch artist Jacquie Maria Wessels allows a glance on ferns in an environment. Between this foreground and a green undefined background, there is a coachwork of a black car, presumably a Volkswagen Beetle. Imbedded in nature, the chassis appears in disrepair. It has no more windows, and the paint is scratched. There are rust marks and pink colour dots, which perhaps could be fallen petals. In contrast to this deterioration, the fern in the foreground with its bright green looks fresh and lively.

As part of the series “Fringe Nature”, the image depicts an industrial landscape on an outskirt of a city. Indicated by the title’s supplement, the picture was shot in Sri Lanka. The series is a follow-up project of the earlier series “Garage Stills”, where Jacquie Maria photographed traditional garages, which are – facing the progressive digitalisation of cars – doomed to disappear. Searching for contact to nature during the work of the former project, the artist discovered the surroundings of these garages. Often, they are peripheral zones. Due to the decline of commercial activities, nature is taking back the domination and overgrows the testimonies of urbanisation.

This becomes evident in “Fringe Nature #12/2017, Sri Lanka”. Even though, the car wreck takes up a considerable part of the image space, the centre of attraction are the bright green ferns in front of it. Only by longer contemplation the black coachwork assumes its shape. At the same time, the deteriorated chassis refers to the origin of the series. In other pictures of the project, the connection is less manifest, since plants and trees have occupied more space and the reminiscences are even less visible. Additionally, the traces of urbanisation are sometimes buildings or machines, not necessarily relicts of garages. Therefore, #12/2017, Sri Lanka marks the passage between both series and the picture itself shows the fringe between civilisation and nature.

All photos of both projects are united in the book “Garage Stills & Fringe Nature”, published by Ludion in March 2023. Moreover, Jacquie Maria will have a solo exhibition with the same title from 3 June to 24 September 2023 in the Musée de la Photographie in Charleroi, Belgium.


Jacquie Maria Wessels

Born in Vlaardingen, Netherlands, Jacquie Maria Wessels worked two years as assistant in a Brussels photo studio, before studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. There she graduated in 1990. During her time at the Rietveld Academy, she focussed on photography and drawing. After an exchange program at the Quicksilver Place Academy of Arts in London, England, where she studied painting and drawing, she found out that photography is her preferred medium. For a deep understanding of her subjects, the artist engages into long period projects. Although her images partly have a documentary character, influences from painting often remain evident.

Since her first series like “Eating in Public Places” (1994), “Street Portraits U.S.” (1996 – 97) and “Family at home” (Brazil, 2001) Jacquie Maria is questioning societies and their impact on individual life. Consequently, she studied Social Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam between 2004 and 2007. Afterwards, she travelled inter alia to Suriname, where she shot the series “The Birdman” (2006 – 2009) and “Cityscapes” (2008).

For her series “Garage Stills” Jacquie Maria travelled several countries in Europe and abroad, like Cambodia, Cuba, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, Russia and Japan. Here she featured traditional garages, which are more and more disappearing, due to the progressive digitalisation of cars. The picture “Garage Still #10/2014 – Amsterdam” is our artwork of the month / December 2018. As a follow-up project results the series “Fringe Nature”. Leaving the car workshops to get in contact with nature, the artist discovered the surroundings and pictured how nature is regaining terrain in these city outskirts. One of the photos “Fringe Nature #12/2017, Sri Lanka” is our artwork of the month / April 2023. The images of both series are united in the book “Garage Stills & Fringe Nature”, published by Ludion in March 2023. Moreover, they will be on view in Jacquie Maria’s solo exhibition with the same title from 3 June to 24 September 2023 in the Musée de la Photographie in Charleroi, Belgium.

Her photo series participated in many group and solo exhibitions in the Netherlands, but also in Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, the United States and Surinam. Her pictures travelled to several international art fairs, like the MIA Fair in Milan, Italy, where they are regularly shown by the Galerie Baudelaire from Antwerp, Belgium. She is represented in numerous public and private collections. Additionally, the artist was honoured by the Amsterdam Fund for Art & Municipal Archives of Amsterdam, the Province of North Holland and the Photography Foundation in Utrecht (Netherlands) to mention only a few. From 29 June to 3 September 2023, she will participate in the photo exhibition “New Horizons” at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with works recently acquired for the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

Jacquie Maria lives and works in Amsterdam.