Siemen Dijkstra – Archiv

Siemen Dijkstra (1968) is the authority in the field of color woodcuts. He makes use of the reduction method in which the image is cut out into a wooden plate, and for each printing run more wood is cut from the same plate. Appropriate to his perfectionism, he uses eight up to fifteen printings, each with a different color, which enables him to achieve his unequaled depth effect.

Like no other he is capable to capture a subtle atmosphere full of color nuances and with a wealth of details. He translates his love for nature into intimate panoramas of trees, leaves and rippling water. Siemen is a creator of atmospheres that often reflect matters of inspiration and nostalgia. His landscapes also show more than the visible reality.

He himself says: ‘At the end of the 80s I made my first landscapes in drawing ink. It was a hesitant start. Until then the fantasy and the story had been the main guide for my drawings. The interest in the scenery was indeed already present in my work, but it had not yet found its independent form. However, I felt a strong connection to the northern Dutch rural landscape, whenever I cycled through them at ungodly hours. It brought me back to the countryside where I grew up as a child. After the ink studies in the early 90s the first color woodcuts followed with the landscape as a subject. These landscapes still had a strong symbolic character and were based on Northern spheres, but it marked the beginning of this oeuvre. It was also the Scandinavian painters from the Fin de Siè:cle, which inspired me. In an era of meaningless Impressionists in these countries they were looking for the soul of the landscape: the genius loki. Capturing space on a flat surface is one thing, capturing the indefinable is another story. In all the years that I am engaged with the landscape I realize that I am actually archiving. Archiving animated landscapes before they are gone.

Siemen Dijkstra studied at the Academy Minerva Groningen, The a recurrent theme in the work of Siemen Dijkstra, well-known for his woodcuts of forests. He employs the reduction technique: working in transparent inks, he cuts away more and more of the plank with each layer, working form light to dark. With an eye for detail, he creates an intimate panorama of trees, leaves and rippeling water.