Upon first glance, these paintings by Spanish artist Antonio Santin appear to be photographs of beautiful rugs with bodies hidden underneath. Take a closer look and you can see the amazing detailed work that Santin has created in order for these rugs to appear real. Using a deeply-rooted tradition of Spanish Tenebrism and his training as a sculptor, Santin paints using the play of light and shadow to create depth and a haunting realism.
Interested in the way bodies shape fabrics, in an interview with Hi-Fructose, he says, “Painting is essentially a superficial activity, the artist’s psychology translates into a certain colored texture that will in turn eventually trigger or host the unique psychology of the beholder. Thus, according to this transitional synesthesia, any represented face is an enlivened mask. My background is sculpture, a discipline that could as well be defined as the development of structural strategies that end up supporting a surface. Not being its main raison d’être, the surface does conceal and contain the essence of the volume, whose physicality permeates its vessel while existing often only in the territory of the imagination. Therefore, whether it is a face, a dress or a rug, for me, it’s all about grasping what is hidden or concealed. (via from89)
Victor Rodriguez‘s acrylic paintings defy the simplistic categorization of the hyperrealistic or photorealistic. His work includes surrealistic, abstract, and cinematic elements, giving a fresh feel to the realist aesthetic. Portraiture is often his style, though he alternates between representations of still-life objects and human figures. Using realistic imagery within a dream-like context, Rodriguez’s work offers viewers a peek into a finely-detailed, deeply personal narrative.
Maybe it’s because I live in Los Angeles where rain is seldom and driving culture is strong, but these oil paintings by Tom Birkner make me want to dig through my tape collection– yup, tapes– and pop a little Tom Waits in before heading out onto the highway. I would extrapolate on this connection, but I think the actual lyrics from “Diamonds On My Windshield” illustrate it best–
Blazing through this midnight jungle Remember someone that you met One more block; the engine talks And whispers ‘home at last’ It whispers, whispers, whispers ‘home at last’, home at last
Argentinian artist Gerardo Feldstein and his absurd sur/realist sculptures recontextualize the way we think about space and the body’s movement within that space. Some of his work features anthropomorphized figures, an exaggerated body part (arms, legs, heart), or he places his sculpted figures into a landscape or susceptible position. His figures encompass a narrative of power and humor, and the role that our perspective plays in relation to these concepts. Some of his mixed media sculptures emit a vulnerability that, though expressed through this absurd medium, feels relatable and almost empathetic.
The work of Italian artist Franco Clun may lead you to believe he’s a photographer. Clun’s artwork, though, are created simply by putting pencil to paper. Clun carefully crafts each drawing to an unbelievable realism. Each drawing he completes seems to expand on the skill of the previous one. He says, “For each new drawing I dedicate more time and attention and I try to push forward my technical limitations. I learn something new every time I take a pencil in my hand.” [via]
French artist Gregory Chiha’s gripping and curious works conjure dark, imaginative inquiry. Realistic backgrounds are populated by vague, distorted figures depicted with thick, abstract, primary-colored strokes of paint. Dense forests and calm interiors stand solid and immortal in stark contrast to the fleeting vision of denigrating souls that vaporize amidst forces unknown. At times they seem aware of their morphing physicality, holding up their hands as if to shield their faces; other times they stand with arms loose and at their sides, giving in and letting themselves be overtaken by this unstoppable force. Some subjects appear to be participating in everyday motions when the event occurs: lounging in the living room, playing in a room strewn with children’s toys, staring into a mirror; others are roaming through sylvan groves – perhaps they went outside to address an unnerving sound or vision? One figure sits at the kitchen table staring at a loaf of bread; the subject ignites, though the bread, indissoluble, withstands. Are these figures ghosts trapped in limbo? Are they in the midst of taking their own life, or victims of an unspeakable tragedy such as a modern day Pompeii? Could these paintings be the depiction of the exact moment of death? Whatever is the nature of their contents, Chiha’s paintings lead to an abyss of theories subjective. However, their immediate intuitive impact stands inarguably emotional and compelling, dark and disturbing.
Christian Rex Van Minnen’s remarkable paintings showcase a mastery of traditional oil painting techniques that are paired wildly with a fascination for historical painting, witty humor, and a strong inclination towards the grotesque.
His still lives pay homage to Dutch vanitas painting yet, even using modes of traditional depiction, they expand to encompass modern sensibilities through the addition of present-day objects and graphic symbols; rainbows, uncanny mushrooms, Cretaceous plant life and hearts and stars accompany decaying flowers, rotted fruit, and scenic lands far away.
His portraits reference the unconventional Mannerist painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo, as well as contemporaries such as Glen Brown and Ivan Albright. Like his still lives, Christian’s portraits are conventional in composition and style, yet his subject’s faces are unrecognizable, malformed and undefinable. They are constructed from a cluster of earthly refuse; human and animal skin, organs and entrails, fruit, insect parts, fur, and textiles come together to emanate feelings of unease, horror, and wonder through intricate, realistic depiction.
Jason John paints extraordinarily detailed scenes of dramatic narratives. These stories touch on the ephemeral side of a serendipitous coincidence – that cold forbidden zone of the wandering brain. More after the jump!