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 Singapore-based artist Ivan Hoo creates astounding photorealistic drawings on simple wooden boards; his expert technique cleverly mimics three-dimensionality, tricking the viewer into mistaking pencil-drawn lines and pastel shading with real-life objects. The content of Hoo’s still lifes is often a domestic accident: a spilled wine glass, a broken vase, a cracked egg. The artistic marriage of the seemingly mundane content with the masterly craftsmanship results in an uncanny examination of the everyday, finding radiance and beauty within the routine.
In a household, Hoo’s vivid scenes might inspire slight anxiety or irritation; in one image, a Coke can topples over, drenching the wooden board, which takes the place of a fine wood table. But because these moments of spillage are fictional, and because they require effort in the place of negligence, they elicit marveling admiration. Because these “accidents” require a paradoxical foresight and meticulous attention to detail,, the annoyance of mess is transformed into a celebration of line and color.
Throughout Hoo’s body of work is a consistent element of surprise and delight. A cat pokes his head through an illustrated hole in the wood, transforming the simple plank into a fence, and a seemingly blank wood canvas is shown to be covered in tiny, precisely-rendered water droplets. In photographs of the work, the headphones he wears persistently fall onto his canvas, initially integrating effortlessly into the photorealistic image, blurring the lines between accident and intention, between artist and art piece. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)
The artist Benjamin Shine’s tulle creations look as if they have emerged from a thick fog; by folding and ironing the ethereal fabric into place, he constructs both realistic portraits and more expressionistic renderings of the human face. For each piece, the artist uses a single sheet of fabric, folding it in upon itself to create layered and nuanced shades of blue, black, magenta, and topaz.
With his enchanting, moody fabric tableaux, Shine makes a unique contribution to modern artistic dialogue. As with the modernists and the Impressionists, the materiality of the work is as significant as its content; as Edgar Degas’s spontaneous brushstrokes realize a ballerina’s tutu, so too does Shine’s delicate fabric render the tender lips and eyelids of the female face.
Despite the creative approach and unusual medium, the artist magically maintains a jarringly realistic gaze, nearly replicating famous photographs of glamorous icons like Princess Diana and Elizabeth Taylor. Where his use of tulle is spontaneous and modern, the actual images are surprisingly conventional; while the Impressionists may have painted en plein air, Shine sticks to traditional portrait subject matter, like posed celebrities. This unexpected marriage of edgy technique with established content results in a truly mesmerizing project, one which occupies an interesting space in contemporary aesthetic conversations.
Only in Shine’s more expressionistic works, titled the Tulle Flows, do we dive head first into the daring medium; here, as the tulle unfolds according to its own natural momentum, faces give way to abstracted shapes. Here, human subjects appear as if they are looking out from behind a veil, like invisible creatures pressing their faces against a foggy cloud. Take a look. (via My Modern Met and Demilked)
The painter Casey Baugh’s vibrant images are so astoundingly realistic that they could easily be mistaken for photographs if not for the eery, impressionistic brushstrokes that are only visible at close range. In rich and moody blues and blacks, the artist imagines a social and psychological landscape dominated by technology, a world where humans and machines coexist in a heightened state of tension and theatricality.
With conventionally beautiful women serving as his subjects, Baugh seduces the viewer; the photorealistic flesh glistens in soft, dreamy blues. Technology becomes a fetish object of sorts as wires coil about the curves of the female body, entangling and binding her while her sensually lit face surrenders to a strange sort of ecstasy, her body reclining suggestively.
Despite the powerful allure of technology, Baugh’s work also serves as a warning against our surrender to it. The remote, mechanical aspects of our modern lives— electronics, social media—entrap the human self with their metallic sheen and magnetic glow. A woman is seemingly choked by a collar made of industrial piping; the piece, titled Ammonoid, suggests that the foreign object has in fact integrated itself into her anatomy. Similarly, a girl is bound in glistening cellophane and confined to a cell, hooked up to televisions without chance of escape. Sadly, Baugh’s women, drawn to the irresistible blue screens, have become as much machine as human being.
The form of the work mirrors its thematic content; at first, the images look like photographs, captures of real events, but upon second glance, it becomes clear that the scene is an expertly-painted illusion. How much of our experience with technology is real? At what point do we sacrifice a truthful mortal existence for the entrancing (and ultimately fleeting) world of technology? (via HiFructose)
Australian artist CJ Hendry takes the items consumers long for: fashion accessories, high-end labels, designer purses, shoes and luxuriously-packaged perfumes, and spends days recreating them with absolute precision. Although there is precious little information to be found about the artist online (she maintains an active Instagram account, but does not seem to have a website or bio), it is quite obvious that she has an interest in seduction. By using the items which seduce consumers and inspire fashion choices, Hendry in turn makes them more seductive through her large-scale, pen and ink renderings of them, stating “It is all about the object. I am a product person and that is obvious through my obsession with the particular placement of each piece. It starts with the acquisition of the product I am intrigued by or have been obsessing over.” Hatching, shading and intricate line-work are used to entice the eye, an extension of the principles used by the fashion industry, designers, and advertisers to tempt the desires of consumer culture.
When asked to describe her detailed but simplistic rendering style in an interview with Youthedesigner, Hendry stated “There are so many ways to describe my style and I am sure people will have different things to say. I look at finished pieces and feel a strong feeling of simplicity. That might sound strange because most pieces are so detailed in their own right but the intentional use of negative space encourages an uncomplicated reaction with all focus on the object.” (via booooooom and youthedesigner)
Montreal-based artist Francois Chartier creates still-life paintings with a photorealistic quality. He often pairs the still-life object with an image of crumpled tissue paper that is dramatically shaped around each object, creating an overall presentation of the still-life object. The juxtaposition of these textures – matte and crumpled with the bright and shiny – demonstrates Chartier’s level of skill as a realistic painter. Surprisingly, Chartier hasn’t always been a painter. After 30 years in advertising as a commercial artist, he entered the fine art world full-time at the age of 50.
Chartier applies the acrylic paint with an airbrush onto a smooth gesso base. He explains, “Although my paintings are realistic, my goal is to create through the layering of mediums and the play of the brush, the illusion of depth and sense of presence beyond what is found in photographs. . . I am drawn to painting large scale works where my subjects, always painted bigger then life size, are given room to seize the viewer and where life’s smaller details are revealed in their beauty and simplicity.” (via juxtapoz)
It is almost difficult to believe that these self-portraits by Spanish Eloy Morales are oil paintings. His oil painting are generally executed on large panels such as the one above. Morales carefully blends colors and layers to flawlessly recreate his portraits. He nearly seems to consider each painting a separate test of his abilities. Morales is known to write notes prior to a painting of goals to meet that he felt weren’t met on a previous work. However, there is more to his work then a simple recreation of a photorgaph. Morales explains in Poets and Artists Magazine:
“I am interested in working on reality through the use of pictorial codes, previously understanding that it is a false relation and I always keep in mind that painting is an independent expression. Finding a meeting point that truly represents my vision keeps me going on painting.” [via ignant]
NYC-based artist Jon Widman really pays attention to surface quality in his seemingly mundane, photo-realistic paintings of papery things. Record sleeves, paperback novels and cardboard boxes are rendered in careful detail, but with the faintest trace of the painter’s hand in the tiny, graphic details. In some pieces, small, industrious rodents make an appearance, hinting at Widman’s sense of humor as they climb and hide among stacks of antiquated media. The subject matter would usually leave the viewer with a trace of nostalgia, but his color palettes and intriguing compilations keep the work feeling fresh and vibrant.