We’ve all been there. You see an artwork and think 'surely, that is a photo'. But as you get closer and read the description, you accept it is made of paint, expertly applied, creating the illusion of reality.
I am in awe of the artists who work in this way because it calls for painstaking labour and the technique is certainly not suited to every painter. Australian artist Robin Eley, based in Los Angeles, is highly skilled in every step of the process, producing work which leaves many viewers incredulous.
For Robin, the task of creating the reference material is often the most important, and the time consuming execution of the painting requires expertise finessed over years of practice.
Robin has been shortlisted in many Australian art prizes including the Archibald, the Doug Moran National Portrait prize (where he has been awarded runner up and highly commended) and the Eutick Memorial Still Life prize. His work is held in private collections and public institutions around the world.
In this episode you'll hear how Robin came to painting, which he didn’t embark on until he was 27, after a career as a commercial illustrator. A teacher of art, he is generous in sharing his knowledge as many of his Instagram and Facebook followers would know.
His most recent body of work has to be seen to be believed - paintings of masterpieces including the Mona Lisa and Girl with a Pearl Earring, wrapped in plastic. The illusion even continues beyond the canvas support where he has extended the sides irregularly to heighten the appearance of the plastic turning around the edges of the work.
He has also created other innovative works including 'The Binary Project' (see link below to YouTube video) which involved the participation of thousands of people around the world. The ambition of that work is typical of this artist, though; he is always pushing the boundaries of what a painting can be.
To hear my conversation with Robin click 'play' beneath the above photo.
A short video relating to this interview will be uploaded to this website and the Talking with Painters YouTube channel in a few weeks.
Solo exhibition, 2022, New York - details to be confirmed later this year.
Robin EleyRobin Eley on InstagramRobin Eley on Facebook'The Binary Project' on YouTube'Alla Prima' by Richard SchmidtMichael ZavrosDavid Korins
'Mona Lisa (wrapped), oil on linen, gesso and marble dust
'Girl with a Pearl Earring', oil on linen, gesso and marble dust
'Self Portrait', 2010, oil on Belgian linen, 39" x 25"Runner Up, Doug Moran portrait Prize, 2010
'Polaroid', 2010, oil on Belgian linen, 24.5" x 18.5"Finalist, Eutick Memorial Still Life Award, 2011
'Plastic', 2011, oil on Belgian linen, 35.5" x 35.5"
'Silent Respiration', 2012, oil on Belgian linen, 24.5" x 18"
'The Deep Marine', 2012, oil on Belgian linen, 31.5" x 24"
'Bibliography', 2012, oil on linen-bound hard cover books, 70 x 48 cmFinalist, 2012 Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of NSW
Part of 'The Binary Project'
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