Most of all, Rutger van der Tas is concerned with mental health and its disorders and distortions in his work. This chaos is what drives him to create – as Rutger stated in Dutch, “Het is voor mij een motor om mee te werken. De chaos waarmee je in het leven staat.” Throughout his work, these different personalities and their worlds come together in a portrait. His oil painting on wood is so refined, and in its strange depictions one may quickly forget how incredibly well and detailed it is already merely in its aesthetic qualities.
Nevertheless, these layers transcend the materiality of the work and come to be deeply embedded in the subject choice itself. As such, Van der Tas’ portraits are a depiction of multiple worlds, characters and styles as they work together and conflict into one. His newest work goes even further: the sense of 2D is completely left behind as Rutger van der Tas creates 3-dimensional objects to give even more space to his stories and people. What we often assume to be 1 is made up out of various beings that are reflected at different times: in 3D, those different perceptions can now be seen by the viewer who is no longer restricted to only one, flat image. It’s a world inside out. Rutger van der Tas and his paintings have been applauded through various institutions over the years. In 2014, he won the Jannie Sipkes price followed by the Van Gogh price in 2015. Last year, in 2016, he was nominated for the Buning Bongers price.