Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk - Monkey Comb in Burning Hair, 2001 (detail)

Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk/ Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk

United States 1947

Painting

Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk
Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk
Female
United States
1947
October 11, 2015
Bojan is an author for Widewalls. He is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Belgrade, majoring in English studies. He is particularly interested in English linguistics and culture. Bojan is also interested in Photography and Digital Art.

Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk is an American painter. She employs various techniques on canvas, and her paintings invariably feature stunning female figures.

Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk’s paintings

Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk - Women In Piles Of Wood Waiting To Burn, 2010, Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk - Indian Hat, Standing Dogs, 1993
Left: Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk – Women In Piles Of Wood Waiting To Burn, 2010 / Right: Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk – Indian Hat, Standing Dogs, 1993

The heroines of Van Ouwerkerk’s paintings are placed in the foreground. They are seductive, almost erotic in nature, reminiscent of nineteenth century feminine icons, although their facial expressions are pensive. Their fantasies are often revealed in the paintings’ backgrounds, through details that give the compositions an air of surrealism, and can sometimes even be defined as ghostly or ominous. They can be presented in tiny details, as is the case with She Listened to the Bird Sing Until Bees Came Out of Its Mouth, or complex scenes as in Women in Piles of Wood Waiting to Burn. The women in the paintings rarely seem disturbed by their surroundings, however.

Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk’s paintings

Left Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk - Monkey Comb in Burning Hair, 2001, Right Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk - She Listened to the Bird Sing Until Bees Came Out of Its Mouth, 2011
Left: Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk – Monkey Comb in Burning Hair, 2001 / Right: Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk – She Listened to the Bird Sing Until Bees Came Out of Its Mouth, 2011

Similar to her heroines, the colors in Van Ouwerkerk’s works resemble turn-of-the-century photographs. They are generally downplayed and muted, and only an occasional detail is colored more vividly, to further emphasize the contrast between foreground and background, and give off the feel of separate realities.

Van Ouwerkerk is represented by Woodward Gallery in New York.

Featured image: Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk – Monkey Comb in Burning Hair, 2001 (detail)
All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Sur-RealWoodward Gallery, NYCGroup
2013Femalenergy 3Woodward Gallery, NYCGroup
2013PrintWoodward Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2011Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk: Curious SanctuaryWoodward Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2010BIG Paper Winter - featuring original works by Basquiat, Calder, DeKooning, Richard Hambleton, Franz Kline, Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, WarholWoodward Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2008Works on PaperWoodward Gallery at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, NYGroup
2007Free PlayIslip Art Museum, East Islip, NYGroup
2006Gallery Artists ‘06-’07Woodward Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2005Wild at HeartLiz Hernandez Gallery, Tucson, AZGroup
2005Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk: Somewhere in TimeWoodward Gallery, NY, NYSolo
2005Winter Paper SevenWoodward Gallery, NYGroup
2004Vote With Your ArtO.K. Harris Gallery, New YorkGroup
2003Paper Invitational VIWoodward Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2003Museum Auction and GalaHunstville Museum of Art, Huntsville, ALGroup
2002Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk: Sacred Rites Editions LimitedWoodward Gallery, NYSolo
2002Paper Invitational VWoodward Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2001Paper Invitational IVWoodward Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1997Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk: Seven RitesWoodward Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1995FemalenergyWoodward Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1995Aesthetic MysticWoodward Gallery (GOLA), New York, NYGroup
1995ArtopiaNew York, NYGroup
1991Group ShowFitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MAGroup
1982Group ShowGalerie Wentzel, Cologne, GermanyGroup
1979Group ShowUniversity of California, Berkeley, CAGroup
1976Group ShowPyramid Gallery, Washington, DCGroup