Sugar-Coated Grotesquerie: Art by Christian Rex Van Minnen
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.
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.