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Sugar-Coated Grotesquerie: Art by Christian Rex Van Minnen

A 2016 painting by Christian Rex Van MinnenUnititled

Christian Rex Van Minnen’s paintings offer viewers a delightfully confusing blend of bright, friendly forms and biological terror. The artist’s paintings reference classical portraiture and still-life painting styles, adding bits of candy, vaguely occult imagery and tattoos to create bizarre, sugar-coated grotesquerie.


A 2015 painting by Christian Rex Van MinnenUntitled

I’m really impressed by the consistent, incredibly detailed realism in Van Minnen’s works. The artist’s incredible skill at rendering his subjects, combined with the strange and creepy tableau making up each painting creates a very real sense of unease for the viewer – something that I find makes these works all the more compelling. I especially love the brightly-colored, translucent forms that appear as a common motif in the artist’s paintings – they look like slightly malformed gummy candies, upping the eeriness.


The tension between sweet, traditionally exuberant and happy imagery in combination with the looming sense of darkness in Van Minnen’s works reminds me a lot of Scott Hove’s cake sculptures, in which soft, inviting pastries become the stuff of nightmares. 


A surreal painting by Christian Rex Van MinnenUntitled

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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