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If you want to click the image above, it will enlarge to allow you to really check out the mind-boggling detail in the piece. Go ahead. Seriously, just click the goddamn picture already; it’s nuts.
Did you do it? Ok, good.
You might be confused as to why it’s been labeled as “oil on panel,” rather than as a digital image, mixed-media, or even as something like Krylon on plastic child mannequin. It’s not a typo–Seattle artist, John Brophy just has a remarkable grasp on lighting, texture, and depth. If his work looks like a random photoshop project assembled during a cubensis trip, that’s because there is a digital aspect to his creation process, just not in the final result. Brophy utilizes computer programs like photoshop, Maya, and ZBrush to create meticulous 3-Dimensional images, which he later renders with impressive accuracy through his use of oil paints on panel. So… that’s pretty much it, I guess. He simply creates crazy looking 3D images using software and then… they just turn into oil paintings. I guess that only really explains what he uses as direct visual references for his painting, but not exactly how he manages to actually produce such hyper-realistic works. The answer to that question is simple, though: he’s just really fucking good at painting.
His latest collection of paintings, titled, “New Songs for the Standard Model” will be on display at the Seattle gallery, Roq la Rue. The opening is tonight(Nov. 9, 2012) and Brophy will be in attendance.
While the figures that he paints jump out from within their intricately detailed, exquisite frames and look as if you could literally wrap your hands around them, their overall compositions operate on incredibly visceral and emotional levels, yet remain bewildering to the logical mind. As further evidenced by the rest of the preview images from Brophy‘s new exhibit (featured below), the painter is currently displaying a healthy amount of duality and toying with the cross pollination of symbolism in his work. Although the individual components and reference points may even conflict within the same painting, forcing one’s synapses to misfire and their brain to momentarily suspend reason, it’s where all of these elements overlap that some kind of intangible and abstract sense is formed.
His creative process may have a very technical, digital launching point, but John makes a conscious effort to work within the “traditional techniques of the 15th century Flemish painters that he most admires, Memling, David, Van der Weyden, Van Eyck, etc. There is indeed some classic, historic imagery incorporated, but the aesthetics presented can also range from present day materials and objects to elements from the golden age of science fiction . The communist hammer and sickle or the swastika–not the inverted Nazi appropriation, but rather the universal image representing balance and harmony–appear on the plastic base of clear glass space cadet helmets resting on the shoulders of two topless pig-tailed girls, waist-deep in a moon crater with the cosmos as their backdrop. The image of the valkyrie incorporates Norse mythology with a selection of some of the world’s greatest thinkers printed on various credit cards, which are then, suspended from strings like a child’s mobile. The visuals can be very digital, but the religious and political iconography offers a much more ancient and timeless counterpoint.
His subjects (all young women) in the series are distinctly humanoid, yet something about them is clearly amiss, giving them a decidedly foreign quality. When I use the term “foreign,” I don’t mean that they have an Eastern European look either; I mean, a not from this plane of existence quality, like a Gelflin from The Dark Crystal. Maybe it’s the glazed look on their faces or the fact that they are always staring with a soft focus out of the frame, but it feels as if they might have android innards, are incognito extra terrestrials, or perhaps even got themselves into some Freaky Friday shit and switched their collective souls with a pack of felines. Their skin is spongy and elastic. Their hair and ribbons shimmer, along with some ivory religious robes. A light source creates glare on the plastic and glass of their helmets. Fireflies glow, noxious smoke billows from burning flames, and thick clouds resemble bundles of soft cotton. The textures that Brophy creates are amazingly life-like. The women in the paintings are as well; it’s just that, after giving birth to these incredibly surreal environments and swirling all of their elements around like a snow globe, he has the amazing ability to simply stop time, leaving it all suspended and completely open to the viewers own interpretations.
New Songs For The Standard Model will run until the first of next month, but there are always the definite benefits of attending the openings, if you are able to make it out. It’s an opportunity to witness these works of art up close, as well as to meet the artist in person. If that’s not enough, the exhibit will be running side by side with another brand new exhibit by the world renowned painter Josh Keyes, who will also be in attendance! [view the Keyes preview here]
Aside from debuting new original pieces, tonight will also mark the release of a brand new John Brophy print, “The Oracle,” which will be available for purchase at the event.
Check out preview images for New Songs for the Standard Model below the following event details…
Roq La Rue Presents – “New Songs for the Standard Model“
A collection of new paintings by John Brophy
Friday, November 9th
Roq La Rue Gallery
2312 2nd Ave
Seattle, Wa 98121
Opening is ALL AGES w/NO COVER
Exhibit will be on view until December 1st.
The gallery is open from 1-6pm from Wednesday – Saturday.
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