Christian Rex van Minnen
Meet Christian Rex Van Minnen. Based in New York, Van Minnen practice the Venetian Method for paint his amazing canvases which are, for some of them, a surprising merger between horror and sweetness. He discusses a bit more about his vision of life, his feeling and the hidden space between things.
What personal reflection do you expect from people who look at your art?
Personal reflection in others is a lot to hope for! I hope that my work can operate and be satisfying on many levels. At the very least I hope it is interesting to look at.
What materials and techniques do you use for this work which seems very meticulous?
I use traditional media- oil on linen, with more modern versions of mediums like alkyd resins. The technique is basically my interpretation of the Venetian Method developed by Titian and improved upon by the Dutch Golden Age painters. There’s essentially 4 layers: tone, imprimatura, deadcoloring/grisaille, glazing.
Are characters you painting are inspired by people you know, you ever seen, or just your own imagination?
No, they are all me. I look at portraits for compositional references, or for hair. They aren’t meant to be seen as anyone outside of my own psyche.
Your paintings sometimes show a fusion between a certain 'violence and horror' - a darkness aspect, blood, distorted bodies - and a certain childish sweetness - living colors, things that look like colored candies. Is it a kind of reflection on humanity?
I see life as just that, a mad fusion, there is no experience independent of another. It’s all one thing, one amazing and sublimely beautiful thing. All of it. It seems to me that the greater a contrast in things I can achieve in a painting, texture/emotion/form/light, the more accurately it describes how this life feels to me.
Is the way you represent caricatured, distorted, and sometimes even absurd people a way of talking about role confusion or identity crisis in our current society?
It’s not an outward looking thing really. It’s me, this is my experience. However, I don’t think I’m that different from anyone else so if I’m experiencing confusion and crisis, chances are a lot of other people are too and can probably relate. I’m not in the business of criticizing other people.
Do you more practice your art for yourself, your own satisfaction or for denounce something, and to make people wonder themselves?
Of course it has to satisfy me first, to ‘work’ on me first. You know how on the airplane there’s a moment when the flight attendant explains that you must first affix your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else? Well, I guess it’s kind of like that. I have to figure my shit out first before I think about telling other people how to live.
What’s your sincere message behind these representations?
That there is a hidden space in between things, in between the opposites. It is a liminal space and it is powerful energy.
courtesy CHRISTIAN REX VAN MINNEN
interview LEA LARCHOUANY
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