NRC Handelsblad (National daily newspaper) 5 June 2001
Excerpt from an article by Sandra Heerma de Voss about an exhibition of Dutch realists in the Kunsthal, Rotterdam.
“Joke Frima (1952), a meticulous painter, zooms in with photographic precision on green plants in her compositions. Pumpkins, ivy, corn stalks and lotus leaves, and little else. Because of the low viewpoint she takes –Frima appears to be lying in the grass– you quickly creep into these still lifes, making up paths through the foliage. In the dense foliage you can explore. This is better than photography.”
Excerpt from exhibition catalogue Nature is dead, Long live Nature
Municipal Museum IJsselstein, NL (Dec. 2002 – Feb. 2003) “In natura morte we are presented with still lifes showing living and dead nature.
Among the artists painting such still lifes are Joke Frima, Raoul Hynckes and Ben Rikken (…) Like Rikken Joke Frima also finds in nature an infinite source of inspiration. In her work she touches upon natura morte as well as landscape. In her still life The Three Graces Frima has removed three pumpkins from their natural surroundings. Because of its composition the modest pumpkins have become a personification of grace and beauty. Her eye for detail and viewpoint draws attention to what we usually miss.”
Excerpt from exhibition catalogue 'The Abundance II'
Museum for Representational Art “De Buitenplaats”, Eelde, NL (Oct. 2001 – Jan. 2002) By Diederik Kraaijpoel.
“Of Joke Frima’s work I’ve seen of a number of landscape foregrounds which reach no deeper than say about five metres. She prefers the world she can touch with her hands. Here she has compacted the stage to a more intimate scale. The still lifes close to us, set on tables that have been aligned with the picture plane: The Apple Household with its perfect symmetry actually evokes a royal family with their servants. Take note of the blue background which, instead of being an enclosing wall, is a neutral backdrop much like the golden ground in icons. This fact adds to the painting’s ritualistic feel in spite of its realistic, three-dimensional treatment and naturalistic lighting which turn it into a convincing Renaissance painting. By comparison Cascade may be called more baroque due to its asymmetric arrangement and lighting concentrated in its centre. Undoubtedly a 17th century legacy. But take a closer look: there’s a lot of fine brushwork but hardly any of the thin, flowing old master application of oils. Quite the contrary, here impasto suggests organic shape however small in scale. This is typically Frima.”
Museumkrant (Museum Journal). Spring 2003 The centuries look on.
By Ileen Montijn (*).
“Other artists appear to capture their surroundings and nature with a completely uninhibited, detached, documentary way of looking. Tke Joke Frima with her large paintings of leaves like “Summer”, so realistic in execution that an unbiased visitor could mistake them for photographs.
But what I find so impressive is that she leans on the hallowed tradtion of verdure that has its roots in medieval tapestry showing meticulous depictions of foliage. Merely foliage without a horizon nor a sense of space, and no sign of humans nor plot. Verdure has been with us as one of the more abstract aspects of representational paintings. This museum owns two 20th century examples of the verdure theme, a plot of dune by Wim Schumacher and “Wasteland” by Wout van Heusden.
That Joke Frima is fully aware of the tradition may be inferred from the fact that she has perused another old art history theme, notably the three pumpkins hanging on twine that is titled “The Three Graces”. The title in itself refers to the classic theme while the painting point to still life paintings by Sánches Cotán, a Spainish artist working around 1600 known for stringing up large cabbages and quinces, and masterful depictions of celery. It sounds crazy, just as crazy as painstakingly painting a tussock of grass or a larger than life-sized cornstalk. But by doing the absurd in such a well-considered and conscious way, an artist may well achieve the unforgettable. (*) Ileen Montijn is a historian and writer. She contributes regularly to Kunstschrift and writes a bi-weekly column in NRC Handelsblad.
Heirs of Magic Realism
Estill Curtis Pennington.
Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia USA 1999
HP/De Tijd (weekly), 25 May 2001
By Diederik Kraaijpoel “Joke Frima. The Receiver, 1996.
Joke Frima is more strongly captivated by leaves than by flowers. I can see why. A big leaf like that is soft on top, but below are strong nervatures that stiffen the funnel-shaped leaf. Both these functions are admirably depicted here. It’s called surface exture, and for a reason. Merely reproducing what you see doesn’t get you there; you have to evoke. Symbolism is wholly lacking, because strange nature itself is full of implication. This image cannot, however, have been painted directly from nature, not unless Joke had dug a hole in the ground for herself and her easel. It’s preferable to sketch and take photographs, and then recreate in the studio.”
Post-war realists in the Kunsthal
De Telegraaf (daily newspaper), 29 May 2001
By Paola van der Velde
“Frima celebrates through plants and still lifes the simple beauty of nature. Withered leaves symbolize death, sunlit cornstalks and pumpkins the fecundity of life.