This article continues my series on the illusion of Depth in painting, with a focus on contemporary artist Janine Riley. Prior articles (more general) are Depth in painting, a short into; and The Road to Perspective (development of depth in my own abstracts), and articles on Artist Lutz Baar , Chris Rohrbach, and Janine Riley
Space in … Space – The Art of H Drew
Drew is an interesting artist who delves into Sci Fi ideas, Surrealist styles and other influences. He also has a significant depth in digital art. The manner in which his preferred genre and technical background inform his approach to art is very interesting. These factors are very evident in his use of shading, perspective, and other tools to create volume and space.
In some of his work he tackles the challenge of creating space and distance in scenes meant to evoke both “space” and outer space. Most of our human psychology is based on experience here on Earth. Our perception of distance and space relies heavily on cues such as the scattering produced by Earth’s atmosphere and other terrestrial phenomena. These Earth-based psychological factors provide the basis for many of the common tricks and tools that artists use to create the illusions of depth, space, and volume on a two dimensional surface.
In Drew’s unearthly locations and scenes, he is freed from the constraints of “realistic” lighting and depth as defined in (for example) a landscape painted en plein air. At the same time he finds creative ways of adapting the typical artists’ toolkit of tricks and illusions to create otherworldy spaces and three dimensional scenes and objects. This freedom and creative adaptation infuses his work with a palette and style evocative of technology and the future, even when the object portrayed is as simple as a chair.
One very interesting approach that Drew uses is a sort of exaggerated chiaroscuro, creating the appearance of curved and highly dimensional forms. This effect is found in 3-D computer modeling, and is translated into Drew’s computer generated work and into his hand-made drawings and paintings. The results range from fascinatingly weird and detailed scenes to unnerving and somewhat jarringly surreal imagery. This distinctive three dimensional shading combines with unusual and sometimes distorted use of perspective evoke moody and dream-like circumstances.
Along with Lutz Baar and Chris Rohrbach, Drew also has several accomplished abstract pieces. In Drew’s abstract work, his use of light and shadow are sometimes very clearly influenced by his experience with digital media, in particular his understanding of Ray Tracing. When combined with very traditional low tech media, his hi-tech informed approach to volume and shading create a sort of uniquely mischievous visual counterpoint.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short tour of Contemporary Artist case studies of depth illusions in painting. Please also check out the other Contemporary artists discussed: Lutz Baar, Janine Riley, and Chris Rohrbach.