About the Paintings

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Fitting into a specific style of painting was never a high priority for me, so I loosely referred to my work as "Figurative Expressionism" or "Surrealism". However, in retrospect, Figurative Expressionism suggests very personal, exclusive feelings, which is not quite accurate in my case. I am first and foremost a storyteller.

I knew that Surrealism also did not fit somehow, but I needed to figure out why.

In the process, a less-known style called Magic Realism caught my attention. It has been around for a long time (first quoted by German Art critic Franz Roh in 1925), initially coined to differentiate in film and literature, artworks that merged elements of realism "with the fantastical, disturbing, mythological and dream-like". Since the latter part of the 20th century, the label has slowly infiltrated the global fine art painting market.

In researching the genre, Magic Realism is specifically defined as "it paints a realistic view of the world while also adding magical elements, often blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. " However, from what I have seen in today's commercial art world, the term appears to be used very loosely.

Even in the best of cases, the most common confusion is how Magic Realism differs from Surrealism, often being referred to interchangeably, even by the artists themselves (including me).

I needed to make the distinction:

As I see it now, the fine art of Magic Realism can be defined as a style in which the artist combines realistic subjects and objects with magical circumstance. These magical circumstances come from subconscious emotions. It is precisely what I do. Painting in this way allows me to dispel or alter the restrictions of defined time and space, much as is done in dreaming.

Of course, the other genre, Surrealism, also allows the artist the same freedom from time and space, but it differs from Magic Realism, as I see it, in a very profound way:

Surrealism’s aim is more intellectual, to unnerve a viewer with seemingly illogical scenes in order to make the viewer think. It is a mind trip.

Magic Realism, at least my Magic Realism, is less to shock and more to make the viewer feel. It is a journey of the heart.

The viewer is free to simply enjoy the visual experience or to emotionally engage as deeply as he or she cares to. I (usually) strive for a painting to be open-ended and understated. That way the symbols can be interpreted by each viewer in their own personal way.

That is my objective in my work: to evoke emotion, however subtle, in an aesthetically pleasing and playfully curious way.