German artist Mike Dargas paints hyperrealistic works of women’s’ faces covered in honey. The luscious, visceral images are up-close, frontal portraits that show the gentle creases in skin as well as the viscous glare on the liquid as it travels down their face. It’s fascinating to see people dripping with thick substance – it’s as if they’re frozen in time.
Dargas finds the models for his painting in everyday life, and they aren’t limited to specific types. According to his website, “He portrays young and old, beautiful and dark, fragile and strong people. They are lost in thoughts, show inner conflicts or transmit a unique and sometimes even holy calmness.”
The works of artist Marco Grassi are so realistic, they appear to be photographs of women. However, his work is not your traditional portraits. If you look again, these portraits have an offbeat element, creating surreal characteristics that cannot possibly exist in real life. Because Grassi’s incredible skill in painting allows him to create such hyper-real images, the out of place component in each painting is our only clue to these being oil paintings and not photography. The artist impeccably renders such a variety of texture; until we believe we can feel the glossy, sleek glass and the soft fabric the women are wearing in Grassi’s work. Even close up, you can see the details of each wrinkle, pore and eyelash of every woman he paints, intensifying the illusion of reality.
The twist is, the women in Grassi’s paintings are not normal, they have a hand covered in intricate patterns or a blue tree stretching across their upper torso, both like glowing tattoos on their bodies. One woman even has a design carved into the skin on her back, revealing not blood and bones, but hollow darkness. However strange these unexpected details may be, the women in these portraits remain just as beautiful and realistic as ever. Despite the unusual, serial quality Grassi’s paintings have, they still appear believable. We are left in awe believing in these striking, mysterious women, not knowing why they look as they do. (via Hi-Fructose)
Four years ago, photographer Jamie Diamond bought a hyperrealistic doll known as a Reborn baby off eBay, and this purchase lead her to a project spanning nearly two years. Called Mother Love, the series blurs the lines between real and unreal, living and the inanimate.
To make this project possible, Diamond collaborated with an outsider art community called the Reborners. They’re a group of self-taught female artists who hand-make, collect, and interact with these dolls. They hold them, dress them, wash their hair, and take them for walks in the park. “After spending a year investigating and recording their practice,” Diamond writes in an artist statement, “I chose to become a Reborner to gain a better understanding of the community.” Diamond continues:
In Nine Months of Reborning, I reborned dolls and constructed a working nursery in my studio and on eBay, called the Bitten Apple Nursery. Before putting the dolls up for adoption on eBay, I photograph each one using a large format camera, the image becomes the remnant of this exchange.
Creating the dolls was a laborious process. Some required up to 80 individual layers of painting, veining, blushing mottling, and toning, cured with heat. Strands were individually attached to the scalp. The dolls were weighted properly so that they feel like a real baby when held in someone’s arms.
The Amy Project followed this construction. “I invited celebrated Artists from the community to individually interpret and idealize the same doll,” Diamond writes. “I then photograph each doll mimicking vernacular school portraits. Each of the dolls are unique to their maker’s hand, but share an uncanny similarity through their common origin.”
Diamond no longer calls herself a Reborner, and plans to sell the remaining dolls on eBay (although she might keep one for herself).
Working with the Reborn community has allowed me to explore the grey area between reality and artifice where relationships are constructed with inanimate objects, between human and doll, artist and artwork, uncanny and real. I have been engaged with this community now for four years and while working and learning from these women, I’ve become fascinated by the fiction and performance at the core of their practice and the art making that supports their fantasy. (Via Hyperallergic)
The work of artist Alessandro Boezio is somewhere between a cross of beautiful, anatomic sculptures and a science experiment gone wrong. Created from clay and fiberglass, Boezio’s sculptures take on a strange life form all of their own. The mutated anatomy included in his work display hands with misplaced digits, spidery entities with fingers used for legs, and limbs with mismatched body parts. The artist has an amazing talent in sculpture as his hands and feet, which he mainly focuses on, are incredibly life-like. At first glance, you may not see the odd mutation of the individual hand. However, the uncanny feeling soon forces you to reckon with its disturbing deformation.
The sight of unattached body parts formed into stand-alone creatures can be quite unnerving. As some of Boezio’s hands are missing many vital fingers, many have a plethora of digits that give them a new life. The fingers become spider-like legs that allow the sculptures to become creepy-crawly creatures that can spin a golden web. They become centipedes made up of our own body parts that inch across the floor. The larger the limb, the more peculiar and abnormal each piece becomes. Boezio’s most life-like sculpture includes a fleshy, peach color to resemble skin, and displays legs and feet in place of fingers. The hand’s tone is incredibly similar to life, which makes the mutation all the more bizarre. Unbelievably, you can even see the veins and hair on the hand. Boezio’s detailed artistic skill is just as incredible and shocking as the misplaced anatomy in his work.
Powerfully disturbing, and certainly controversial, the art that 22-year old artist The Kid creates spans genres. He describes his work as “forever caught between innocence and corruption,” and the well-executed pieces are compelling with their huge, detailed, Bic pen-drawn faces and hyper-realistic sculpted bodies. Photos of his sculptures, made from materials such as platinum silicon, glass fiber, oil paint, human hair, cotton, and mixed fabrics, force you to look, and look again, in order to believe that they are, in fact, inanimate objects.
In his latest work, The Kid is influenced by bullying inflicted on him by fellow students and teachers when he was younger. The sculpture “Do you believe in God?” which depicts the artist kneeling and holding a gun in his own mouth, was in response to the Columbine killers, who he feels he understands and sees as “victims of a social context.”
“All subjects of my drawings for the exhibition “endgame” really exist and are currently being held in prison-even in the United States-with exactly these tattoos. They are not imaginary and no detail is invented. They are all serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, until they die in prison. There is no other hope for them-a life in adult prison at the beginning of their sentence, that’s all, even though they have been convicted of violent crimes they committed before the age of 18.” (Source)
It’s clear that The Kid empathizes with these stigmatized subjects and hopes to give them back some humanity by evoking compassion from the viewer. Many share his view that social determinism condemns people from birth because of their familial circumstances, but by depicting, in such a graphic way, a sampling of those who are affected, he brings attention to the issue. It’s not empty sentiment, either. The Kid donated a portion of the profits from this work to the non-profit organization Human Rights Watch, which defends the rights of people worldwide. (Via yatzer)
Swiss artist Till Rabus combines hyperrealism aesthetics with a touch of surreal scenarios to create his sexually charged, marginal paintings. Rabus’s inconvenient art consists mostly of suggestive anthropomorphic still lives and tangled up limbs, all engaging in provoking sexual situations. His immaculate attention to real-life detail makes it hard to distinguish a painting from a photograph.
Regardless of the intended eroticism, Rabus’s paintings are far from vulgar. His works rarely depict straightforward sexual objects, rather use symbols to create the desired connotation. Viewer is left with phallic confectionery, oysters and other inanimate objects that stimulate the imagination. Even the orgiastic compositions don’t reveal the full story but depend on observer’s ability to give personal meaning.
The clash between hyper-realistic style and symbolic, surreal content is what makes Rabus’s works so eye-catching. An also unexpected symmetry and palette of complementary colors induces a sense of order in an otherwise chaotic Rabus’s world of fantasy. (via Asylum Art)
The work of painter Karl Persson is not for the faint of heart; his horrific scenes, rendered with hyperrealistic precision, examine the darkest and more cannibalistic impulses of the human mind. Envisioned in an aesthetic evocative of the work of horror artist Chet Zar or tattoo artist Paul Booth, Persson’s unique hellscape is wrought with sexual tension, desire, and yearning.
Through Persson’s frightful lens, the human creature becomes base and animalistic; overtaken by the sheer fact of appetite, a mouth erupts from the gut of a dead chicken, its head cruelly severed and skin raised, revealing grotesque goosebumps in lieu of downy feathers. Again, a set of carnivorous teeth slice open the entire face of a baby, who kicks and thrashes about with eating utensils in hand; with his umbilical cord only just severed, the monstrous being is never satiated and still demands more. Persson’s self portrait imagines the artistic impulse as equally cruel, presenting the artist as cannibalizing his own form in service of a ravenous creative hunger.
Within this grotesque sexual and gluttonous thirst, there are moments of beauty to be unearthed. The Kiss imagines a pair of slimy insects making bestial love with their pointy, bloody legs, stabbing one another in the process; though repulsive, their slick, glinting feelers are also magnetic and alluring, their lusty movements brought to life and crystalized forever in dreamy pinks and purples.
The work is also not entirely without innocence; in this cruel vampiric world, a fetal rat lies dead and gutted. In a stunning reversal, those that we label as “vermin” become soft, delicate babes, whereas the human is revealed to be savage and cruel. Within this piteous creature, ripped fatally from the womb, we might rediscover the all-too-rare feelings of compassion and heartbreak. Have we, as humans, descended too far into our own brutal greed, or might we return to a state of virtue and empathy? Take a look. (via TrendHunter and Mongolian Art)
Marc Dennis’ hyperrealistic paintings are centered around the gaze and ideal for viewers who enjoy spending a lot of time with a single work of art. Layered with symbol upon symbol, it’s apparent that there are two subjects featured in any one of his complex compositions – the person who does the looking and the object that’s being looked at. As we view how the two interact, we form a narrative about their relationship. What does it mean, for instance, that a NFL cheerleader stares at the classic Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso? How do the they relate to each other? And, how does this relate to us? In an interview with Hi Fructose, Dennis talks about trying to find our own meanings within art. He explains:
I saturate my paintings with truths and suggestions about human behavior, ways of looking, and the psychological, spiritual and physical relationships we have with art. Walter Benjamin, the famous social critic once said, “To experience the aura of a phenomenon means to invest it with the capability of returning the gaze.” I believe that we, as viewers and art lovers, are eager and more pleased when it happens, to find ourselves, or some semblance of ourselves in a work of art. In other words, I do my part in “returning the gaze” that Benjamin speaks of. And in this hyper self-conscious, glamour-driven, sexually-inflated and media-obsessed art culture of today, my works are satirical yet sincere, artificial yet real, and most definitely loaded with personal symbolism yet public pomp — a timely combination and expression. (Via Faith is Torment)