Sep 30, 2011

TREND | Surrealist figurative Paintings

Lori Earley, Angelene, 2007, Oil on Board
Surrealism has been around for quite some time, you could even count Hieronymus Bosch as such an artist hundreds of years ahead of his time. So I thought, how has Surrealism progressed in these past few decades?  I realized what I personally wanted to focus on and that being surrealism mutating and deforming the human body; How what we see may not be what we see. The human form is so simple and yet so complex. How is it that we ourselves become the focus of attention to be distorted?


Surrealist Figurative work always distorts the figure in some sort of ill manner. It takes the human form we all know and completely strips that from us and challenges our perspective. Surreal art has always been about the unseen and on the basis of do we really know what is out there in the world? The idea is very similar to philosopher Rene Descartes  knowing that one thing is always true "I think, therefore, I exist," If we can conclude that to be true then we can conclude we may know something of our reality. The problem is even though we may say we can hold objects such as pencils we have no proof that they exist beyond our mind or even exist within our reality. Surrealism in general feeds off this idea and takes our sensory perception to another level, introducing us to things that do not exist in our sensory perception. The idea that we know nothing except of our existence and that anything in that existence can thrive and exist.

Lori Earley, a young up and coming Surrealist Figurative artist from New York says her works are from her "innate desire to transform my emotions into tangible planes that express what I feel, not what I see." Though all of Lori Earley's work is completely filled with young attractive women they all have been grotesquely disfigured with long fragile necks and thin malnourished bodies. Almost alien like with eyes that appear to be almost bulging out of their heads, however their eyes are the main focus having such ethereal life they seem almost haunting. She says she paints the figures based on her moods and feelings, the atmosphere of the topic she is about to embark on.


Michael Hussar, Daddy's Girl, 2004 , Oil on Canvas, 8" x 10"

Michael Hussar, an Italian artist uses the meticulous technique of the old master painters in his very fresh and modern style. Michael Hussar's Surrealistic Figurative works usually consist of some character (which the sex is usually unidentifiable) with long spike features (such as Daddy's Girl's fingernails). They appear replacing any appendage, he also blots out the facial features in many of his subjects, giving them a ghost like appearance and the questioning of if they actually exist beyond the world of the painting. Michael Hussar paints for his own therapy, as a way of solving his own issues through his art. His art teeters on the meaning of life and death and if anything exists beyond death or if death is only the beginning. Michael Hussar is so emotionally attached to his art because it is his own therapeutic style. he refuses to sell any of his art work and still owns every single painting he has ever made. He says " I need my paintings around me, I go into a massive depression when they're gone."

Michael Hussar, Morphine, Oil on Canvas
Marilyn Manson, Sometimes I squeeze things too hard, Watercolor Ink and Acrylic, 30" x 22"
Oddly enough Marilyn Manson, the "Antichrist Superstar" of the 1990's has also dabbled in the realm of watercolors. If anyone reading this has ever listened to his music, you know before I even say that any work done by him would have to be surreal in some sort of fashion. Manson focuses greatly on the human form and does add in a few animals as well in his work. And he always discolors the human skin in the paintings, there is never a painting with a flesh tone for any human skin. The skin usually ranges from greens, yellows and oranges. Manson has before said "I can be a painter who paints houses or a painter who paints what comes out of my head,"he creates what he feels and denies his sensory perception to take over him. He refuses to paint what appears to be there, but what he knows for sure lies inside him.  He also believes "we create the world, we create our own gods, we create our own devils." He has given many lectures in colleges by surprise to the students, and has spoken about his views mainly in his art. He noted to the students he believed all things in life including ourselves are "question marks that should never be answered." The mystery that encompasses our mere being is enchanting and should not be disturbed in its place, but rather told through the works of an artist whether it is right or wrong.

Marilyn Manson, Wait a Minute, Watercolor, 30" x 22"


"Marilyn Monroe wasn't even her real name, Charles Manson isn't his real name, and now, I'm taking that to be my real name. But what's real? You can't find the truth, you just pick the lie you like the best." - Marilyn Manson


- Erin Vohlakari Davis

1 comment:

  1. You should check out pop-surrealist artist Ray Ceasar. He reminds me quite a bit of Michael Hussar. http://www.raycaesar.com/ He paints a lot of sensual, ghost-like female characters with anthropomorphic limbs. I enojoyed your use of direct artist quotes...you did your research. Nice job!

    -Laura Knight

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