Dutch artist Chris Berens paints visions of his internal universe as if he sees it through an ancient handmade lens which warps and obscures his view of that curious place in unpredictable ways. His kaleidoscopic mirror world, inhabited by an exotic menagerie of beasts, mysterious Madonnas and lost children, is richly represented with color palettes, environments and themes reminiscent of Golden Age Dutch painters like Jan Vermeer and Rembrandt, yet its overall effect is vaguely disturbing, in the manner of Rosamund Wolff Purcell and the Brothers Quay. Despite appearances, Berens' work is completely hand painted – there are no digital or photographic elements in his paintings.
Thanks for writing this and posting it, Commandax. I just got back from Amsterdam where we did an interview with Chris and filmed him talking about his incredible technique (when we get it edited we will post it). If you like his older work- wait until you see the new show- it's his best work to date. I'm beyond thrilled for his show in December.
I don't think Chris will remain a secret much longer....
The piece are very dream like, I know this is going to sound nuts, but reminds me of some of the music videos that Tool has, where these people look surreal and they are blurry in places so you can never really make the whole figure out.
I've always latched onto the lion-and-the-lamb aspect of this one... I never noticed the baby feet until I was comparing it to the Bouguereau. I wonder why he left them in? To emphasize that the lion is the Christ child? Hmmm.
I really wish I were able to see his upcoming pieces at Roq in person. As much as I'm intrigued by his process and think I like his work, I imagine it's the type of stuff that must be seen up close and personal to truly appreciate. Totally scary and beautiful at the same time. It has those foreign yet familiar, hazy yet defined, and vague yet purposeful feelings only experienced in the bizarre concoctions of the subconscious during a dream. Looking forward to seeing some real pictures of his paintings from the show.
Yeah.. I was educating myself on some art history and happened to stumble across that. It didn't take me long to remember where I'd seen that before. I love how Chris has taken that image though and twisted it in to something entirely different while keeping the focal point of the image very similar.
I just wanted to note that part two of the Chris Berens interview we did is up on the HF site...it's super short but Chris talks a little more about some of his inspirations, and I found it kind of moving.