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Modern Surrealism by Matthew Grabelsky

An oil painting of a woman standing in front of a bear in the New York subwayExit Pursued by A Bear, oil on canvas


Matthew Grabelsky hold degrees in both art and astrophysics, lending an interesting perspective to his realistic representational paintings that combine very modern imagery and scenes with a touch of surrealism and classical embellishment. Grabelsky studied painting under great masters in Italy and France, allowing the viewer to see his contemporary conceptual style in a different, contrasting light.


A painting of a man with a the head of a wolfThe Big Bad Wolf, oil on canvas

One of the biggest aspects of Grabelsky’s work is his fascination with the subconscious, and the idea of dreams or fairytales manifesting as part of real life. In most of his paintings, the collision between reality and dreamscape is obvious, the dream often manifesting as a lone figure, a fantastic creature or oversized, incongruous animal – seeming somehow perfectly at ease with its surroundings.


I’m a fan of Grabelsky’s sculptural works, where he brings the same theme of dreams mixing with reality, but allows it to take a more tangible shape. Galvanized steel mesh sculptures of animals (often types that would never be found in the regions where the art is installed) appear like shimmering mirages, placed in parks and tucked into wooded areas.     


A photo of two mesh turkey sculptures in a wooded areaTurkies, galvanized steel mesh and stainless steel wire

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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