Miko Veldkamp’s paintings weave together geographically disparate locales—spaces that the artist has at one point or another called home. Figures who represent “pseudo-self portraits” principally occupy his lush, botanical dreamscapes. Each scene conveys a vague sense of place, but certain elements (a checkered floor, an exaggerated arch bridge, a field of grazing cattle) suggest enigmatic specificity. Upon first glance his compositions are vibrant and playful, but incorporated elements such as coca and tobacco leaves represent both the beauty and the cultivated danger hidden within a fructified landscape. These imagined spaces are drawn from the artist’s memories, and as such, they often diverge from our physical reality, but represent the felt experience of wandering.
Veldkamp was born in Suriname and grew up in the Netherlands before relocating to the US in 2014. His work is a response to living across dispersed geographies, and the ways in which his identity has shifted in the process of navigating degrees of otherness. Through the employment of physical barriers between interior and exterior spaces that separate the represented figures, the artist conveys the experience of otherness, or otherizing. Veldkamp’s richly complex scenes embody longing, but also the potential to recreate and invent moments pulled from the depths of our subconscious, while revealing the fluidity of identity as a construct.
Text by Re’al Christian, 2021
Miko Veldkamp (b.1982, Suriname) grew up in The Netherlands and has been based in the United States since 2014. He currently lives and works in NYC. He was a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and a recipient of the Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and in 2021 he graduated from the Hunter College MFA painting program. Solo show includes Off-White Columns, NY and Galerie Rianne Groen, Rotterdam. His work has been included in group exhibition at Workplace, London; New Wight Biennial, UCLA, LA; Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo, NL and Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton, NJ, amongst others. In 2016 Veldkamp was nominated for the van Bommel van Dam Prize and in 2020 his work was selected to be featured in The New American Paintings publication and in ArtMaze magazine.