Brooklyn-based artist Christian Rex Van Minnen does not distance himself from swollen, curled or incomplete artistic representations of the body. His pieces present Dali-esque visions of the human body, manipulated in ways that contort the very essence of what it means to be a human soul within a rational fleshy body.
Van Minnen creates beautiful portraits, with the foreground’s vivid colours highlighted by subtle, darkened backgrounds. If looked upon from a distance, one could perhaps surmise that these paintings are carefully directed portraits of famous politicians or thinkers. It is not until one is brought face to fleshy, bulbous face with the true characters of Van Minnen’s work. Faces lacking humanistic features, sporting bubbling or elongated excess skin; wrinkled heads with cartoon-like faces seemingly tattooed on; colourful, gelatinous entities propped atop sets of human shoulders – these are only a few of the surreal manipulations that Van Minnen takes on when presenting these displays of the viscerally humane.
Van Minnen has had solo exhibits from Seattle to Los Angeles to Copenhagen, with the most recent – Golden Memes – being displayed in 2015 at the Robischon Gallery in Denver. His pieces indeed blend the surreal, old-timey painting style with the contemporary. One piece, entitled “Duckface” – presumably referencing the social media selfie craze – presents an oblong head with a cartoon duck’s face etched upon the skin. A literal take on one of the many internet-borne concepts.
The work of Christian Rex Van Minnen can be found on his website as well as on his Instagram account. His representing galleries include the Gallery Poulson in Copenhagen, as well as the aforementioned Robischon Gallery. Keep up to date with his work – do not shy away from the uncommon or the disfigured – there is beauty found in all, and Christian Rex Van Minnen rarely misses in stating such.
Text by PATRICK LABA