I’ve been wanting to discuss Christian Rex Van Minnen for a while now. I’m a huge fan of his work and feel like he’s the perfect artist for an up close look. His work is not only recognisable because of the style and subject matter but also due to van Minnen's painting method. The techniques he applies give his work that signature hyper-realistic quality where the use of light and shadow instantly reminds me of the great masters.
I read various interviews where he spoke about his admiration for famous artists of the Dutch Golden Age and Italian Renaissance. So it comes as no surprise that he learned their painting techniques. Amazingly enough he’s fully self taught, using lots of books and years of training to perfect his skill. The oil painting technique he uses is similar to that of Titian, the Venetian method, which builds up many layers of colour over a light underpainting with transparent glazes for shadows and more opaque finishes for highlights. When dry, these layers of oil paint stay slightly translucent, reflecting the light and creating a very glossy finish. Besides this he also uses chiaroscuro, a strong contrast between dark and light that creates dimension in his work, which is particularly noticeable when looking at the gummies he paints.
It's not just oil paint techniques but also the old European masters’ use of composition that inspires van Minnen's own work. According to van Minnen they possess a compositional geometry that helps to create the narrative, especially earlier in his career he would use their work as a “stylistic restraint to play within”, recontextualising a classic work of art into something more modern. A great example of this is ‘Eva Prima Pandora (2015)’ which is based on a work of the same name by Jean Cousin.
The use of these traditional methods and compositions combined with his subject matter makes his work feel historic and contemporary at the same time. This type of contrast really defines his work overall and is why I find it really draws you in. The deformed and bloated characters mixed with the bright and colourful objects. The ethereal painting style contrasted with the surreal subject matter. All his portraits and still lifes seem to create this opposition and make you think. Is it repulsive, is it attractive? Probably both, and that seems to be the point.❤️
Incredibly talented and cool artist. I cannot wait to get a piece from the timed launch....
1 year ago·