The Dutch Golden Age meets Pop Surrealism in Christian Rex Van Minnen’s skilfully rendered portraits and still lifes, artworks that blur the line between beauty and grotesque in a searing critique of contemporary society.
Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Van Minnen was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and received his BA from Regis University in 2002. A self-taught painter, inspired by the Old Masters, he developed his own technique through trial and error, using book reproductions for reference. Building up layers of oil pigment, he creates 3D-looking shapes, contemporary photo-realism mixed with the sumptuous, velvety shades of the old world. Attractive yet repulsive, Van Minnen’s bulbous, deformed characters address consumerism, the effects of colonialism, the absurd. “I think it’s about catharsis: getting difficult emotions out, reflecting upon them,” says the artist.
Solo exhibitions of Van Minnen’s work have been held in Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver and Copenhagen, and his paintings have featured in group shows in USA, Europe and Australia. In 2011 he was appointed artist-in-residence at Anderson Ranch Arts Center and in 2015 the Denver Art Museum acquired one of his pieces for its permanent collection.