On the Nature of Things


 - mixed media

 - screenprints

 - etchings

 - digital collages

 - text




Pages from the Scriptorium




On the Nature of Things



The origin of a work of art is never easily explained, but it will help to realize that Jaco Putker is interested in Nature and and in how nature operates. Nature on both a galactic scale as on the micro-scale of insects and cells. He loves the variation and flexibility nature displays continuously.

Nature as a killing machine is also something to ponder on. A random day at the beach: jellyfish are rotting on the sand, oysters attached to washed-up boards are trying to survive, corpses of crabs are scattered about. What does seaweed live off and who lives off seaweed? Gulls are plucking fish out of the ocean. Nature is always hungry and is trying to serve everyone.

The artist is ambiguous on whether he finds his stay in 'On the Nature of Things' pleasurable. Don't expect too friendly a portrait of nature, although it never is truly morbid either. Putker feels there is a mystic connection between man and nature; an occult bond which can be experienced by a simple walk on the beach or through the woods.

In Putker's created world everything flies and flutters as lovely as on our earth, but on closer inspection you wonder: isn't that a carnivorous plant? Is that caterpillar crawling towards it's death? Are those hanging vines branching off a suffocating invader? This too is in accordance with the way nature works on earth.

However, there are big differences between our world and the world of 'On the Nature of Things'. In his work, Putker has set up his own laws of physics. All familiar forms are completely detached from one another and re-arranged into another dimension.

In this world a bird will have to reconsider before attacking a dragonfly. The snail's shell is twice the size as a cottage. Against the rules of gravity, animals and flowers are hanging from a free-floating heap of dirt or on vines that look remarkably like cat's tails. The flowers are not as flowery as on earth. They are microscopic snowflakes the size of a tree in a forest. And also: colours have been abandoned in this world.

The most shocking difference is only two dimensions are left. Like the part-takers in our world, the flat inhabitants of Putker's world are not aware of their limitations. Like their brethren on earth they only try to survive.

Another law of physic which is trotted on is the lack of difference between macro- and micro-cosmos. His heaps of earth resemble galaxies, or even a cluster of galaxies. These clusters collide with eachother and go at eachother like the tiniest of insects. Everything is in constant movement and is connected with everything else. This is expressed in the Hermetic Principles of Correspondence and of Vibration. Putker is fascinated by these principles and even more by playing with them.

In conclusion: is Putker's 'On the Nature of Things' a portrait of the earth or of another universe? Our earth looks similar in several places, but also differ greatly. Just compare the Sahara desert with Tokyo's ringway.

Thinking of this comparison, Putker's allegorical universe seems more earthly than earth itself.


Bob van der Sterre












De serie “Over de Natuur der Dingen” is een uiting van Jaco Putker’s constante verwondering over, en bewondering voor, de werking van de Natuur. Jaco is gefascineerd door haar systemen van perfectie en zelfvoorzienigheid; haar krachten van verjonging, destructie en creatie. Alsook in hoe zij een diepgaand effect heeft op vrijwel elke mens.

Natuur kan de mens troosten en rust geven. Dit vermoeden van een occulte relatie tussen de mens en het vegetatieve probeert hij te ontleden en te reconstrueren.



Deze reconstructie gebeurt aan de hand van zowel gevonden als zelf geproduceerd beeldmateriaal: tekeningen en gravures van dieren en planten, maar ook van abstracte tekens die doen denken aan sneeuwvlokken of atomen.

Dit beeldmateriaal voegt Jaco digitaal samen tot een coherent systeem waarin alles vibreert en met elkaar correspondeert. De werken die uit dit proces ontstaan, voert hij uit in schilderijen, etsen en zeefdrukken.