The subjects of the painter Ryohei Hase’s work are, in his view, sadness and gloom; with his mythical paintings, he builds his own bestiary of wolf-man hybrids and skull-faced monsters, weaving tragic narratives in shimmering grays and black-blues. Like religious triptychs, his paneled images seem to narrate a darkly imaginative story of innocence, violence, love, and redemption.
Hase’s use of baby animals is anything but cute; tiny, effeminate rabbit heads are used to convey a sorrowful isolation that centers around the assumed innocence of the young. In contrast to the animal-headed figures who tear at each other’s throats, a young, downy rabbit head sits atop the body of a young woman as she delicately peers at the ground, her breasts barely poking out of a white brassiere; again, we see her as she lays in her lonesomeness, naked on the ground.
As the narrative progresses, these human beasts fall from innocence into experience, now wolf-headed and like hysterical ancient Greek maenads, women lock bodies with one another in battle, breasts jangling and nipples erect. An antlered man claws at the bloodied head of a wolf; a clan of pig-headed humans gaze at a roasted pig, their cannibalism and cruelty seen in their glistening sweaty brows, their gleaming red eyes. As these animalistic men fall into anarchy, they descend into an evermore hellish landscape.
Through the epic series are notes of love and redemption within a fallen world; a gentle wolf head welcomes a collapsed women into his realm, lovingly bracing her fully-human body. Men die, their skulls ripped from the back of their heads, and yet they keep running, peacefully and determinedly looking into the future. In fallenness, there’s color and seduction; a rainbow-encased lioness wears only a pair of barely-there panties, and a dead fish man drifts to the bottom of the ocean, leaving a magnetic fiery glow in his wake. (via Juxtapoz)