Amsterdam painter Chris Berens has a show of new work opening today at Seattle's Roq La Rue Gallery. Above, "Microcosmos," (mixed media on panel, 20" x 20"). Below, "Leap" (mixed media on panel, 18" x 18"). Berens's dreamy images have a decidedly Photoshop feel, but they are not digital. (I can tell by the paint drops?) Indeed, he prefers ink on photo paper to oil on canvas. All of the work is also viewable online. From Roq La Rue:
His work features a fantastical mélange of exotic creatures and 18th century imagery, floating in buttermilk colored clouds, lush verdant countrysides, or silvery sea blues. Photo realistic, totem-like animals and distorted childlike people float like dreams through blurry surrealistic European city scapes or drift on stormy seas on decrepit ships in a soft focus haze, shimmering as if in a fevered dream. It is almost shocking to look at, but in the gentlest of ways. Beyond the wondrous imagery there is another startling and unusual aspect to Chris' work, in which the smooth, translucent look of the his medium of choice (all works are created with drawing ink, bistre, graphite, parquet lacquer, alkyd coating varnish on inkjet photo paper that is then mounted on wooden panels and adhered with bookbinder's glue) is contrasted with fact that the paintings are patch-worked together, in pieces ranging from 1 to 3 inches across. Each section has been been painted numerous times and layered over each other and each segment flows seamlessly into each other, creating a cohesive image...Chris Berens "Leeuwenhart"
This new series of works, entitled "Leeuwenhart" ("Lion Heart") take a turn from his last body of work which depicted icicle-like skyscrapers and NY cityscapes that sparkled like diamonds, to more of a lush, fairytale world of forests, rolling green hills, and ancient looking villages. And while the usual assortment of magical animal spirits show up in all the works, another character makes an appearance, Chris' new daughter Emma Leeuwenhart Berens.