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Digital Meets Traditional: Painting by Michiel Van Der Zanden

A painting of a restaurant made to look like a computer modelRecreation #4, oil and acrylic on canvas

Michiel Van Der Zanden’s paintings and sculptures are a bizarre marriage of realistic painting and computer generated imagery. Van Der Zanden frequently uses a computer modeling program to compose the sketches for his paintings, taking real objects and settings and isolating them in an uncanny digital space, where the laws of physics and architecture seem somehow less rigid than in reality.


A painting of a temple made to look like a computer generated imageRecreation #3, acrylic and oil on canvas

A Netherlands native, Van Der Zanden’s paintings frequently use familiar buildings or landmarks as their subject matter – but these are more than simple landscape or cityscape paintings. Van Der Zanden doesn’t just use a modeling program to compose scenes – he exploits the otherworldly capabilities of such a program to isolate objects in blank space, and then holds true to the models he creates when he produces his acrylic and oil paintings. The result is paintings that have a look that can only be seen in a computer program, and Van Der Zanden’s skill at rendering smooth objects and softly blurred yet seemingly endless backgrounds make the juxtaposition all the more jarring.


A small sculpture of a house, painted to look like an oil paintingBoerderij, acrylic on MDF and wood

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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