Ronald Ophuis studied at the Aki Academy in Enschede and at the Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. He is represented by Upstream Gallery since 2007. Ophuis is known for his large oil paintings that often represent pain, suffering and violence. His paintings depict painful situations in places like concentration camp Birkenau but also locations that were more recently the stage of war and disruption such as Rwanda, the Congo, Iraq and Srebrenica. What makes the work controversial for some is the lack of a clear moral standpoint: the attention is often directed to the perpretrators of violence, not the victims. It is up to the viewer to find a way to relate him- or herself to these images. His works can evoke very emotional reactions in some viewers, who might find the images shocking and even physically hard to look at. At the same time the painterly and artistic qualities make the work visually attractive, which puts the viewer in an uneasy position: may he or she actually enjoy an image as painful as this? When working on a series, Ophuis always extensively researches his subjects and travels to the places where the violence took place.
Photo: Hugo Keizer