JOSHUA RAZ

“As an artist who includes people within my work, I hope that my paintings hint at anthropological peculiarities. Perhaps at times the paintings may illuminate some eerie cul de sac that our endeavours have driven us into, yet they often embrace the triumph of existence despite these moments.”

My paintings acknowledge that reality is experiencing a period of atrophy. In neglecting to question artificial narrative, artificial intelligence and our own increasingly artificial existence, the significance of reality is withering. We live vicariously through flat interfaces, and thus they are treated as the primary sources of empirical truth. The paintings unpick the dependability of the two-dimensional image with spliced landscapes and warped perspectives: I acknowledge the authority with which we endow images, and attempt to subvert it through a recycling process.

My latest work illuminates possible symptoms of prioritizing individualism over community. One’s individual identity and opinions have become the salient measures of worth. Perhaps this modern anthropological shift can be held accountable for some of wider society’s flaws: platforms that offer the illusion of community whilst only truly catering for the individual; the diminishing cultural presence of love; the antiquation of community; the commandments of the collectives that remain becoming fierce, unforgiving and polarising.

These narratives exist concurrently with a zeitgeist of feeling increasingly secondary, or even insignificant, within a swelling population. When one’s ostensibly unique desires can be quantified, categorised and manipulated by the systems that govern our lives, it becomes increasingly difficult not to feel like an outline in someone else’s periphery.

Curriculum Vitae.


 

Please find below small video footage about the artist.

SOLÈNE wants the viewer to explore and understand the world of each artist by entering their studio life, their daily exploration or even a show, a project that has marked them but more generally SOLÈNE’s vision is for the viewers to see what inspire them, their artistic process and what they wish to share and transmit.

 


Your work is intriguing, in one hand it is very figurative through the figures or portraits and in another hand it is very abstract through the landscape. Have you got an explanation of the fact that you explore the combination of both abstraction and figuration in your work?

As a figurative painter, I believe that one should present new perspectives on the human experience. Through its proliferation as a two-dimensional image, the human figure is increasingly viewed as an outline: a part of reality although not entirely real. This sometimes extends to how people feel about themselves and others. I attempt to project this feeling in my work by staging figures (and other motifs) within an artificial landscape; an abstract space that leaves the figures vaguely detached from the environment they inhabit.

Am I right in thinking you are through your own eyes describing the duality of the realness and the imaginary?

In part, yes. As society and the systems that run it becomes increasingly illusory and ambiguous, I’d like my work to reflect that. We live in a world in which the imaginary is many people’s reality; fabricated narratives that are spun and then circulated become the bedrock of nations. I’d like my paintings to have the initial impact of a convincingly ‘real’ space, but at a more rigorous glance reveal itself as a fabrication.  

In your paintings you question the authority of imagery, why so?

Because it is our instinct to register a photograph or image as empirical fact, yet they are easily manipulated in order to generate new meaning. They are not as reliable as they may at first seem.

Would you say the image, the canvas, the painting in general is there to articulate our reality or it is a mix of reality and pure creation ?

It’s always a mixture of the two; it is those two impulses which drive a person’s desire to create. The image on a canvas is always an embellishment or dilution of what we perceive as ‘real’. It is a story to add to the many that provide context for our thoughts and beliefs.

It makes me wonder through your paintings if the subconsciousness (the creative mind, the imaginary) is always controlled somehow by the realness of our reality and therefore consciousness? Do you have any thoughts on this?

The subconscious and conscious minds work as one where creativity is concerned; they nourish each other and reveal themselves in the worlds we create (whether that be civilisations, systems or a painting). The decisions made consciously are often undermined by those made subconsciously and vice versa. I hope that this is evident on the surface of the canvas, on which I tend to layer gestures, mistakes and ideas until the final image reveals itself.

In your message, you mention you would like to see some indulgence in both our own complexity and the complexity of the societies and systems we have created. Do you think somehow the Covid will bring some indulgence on this wish you may have?

Humanity is complex in its contradictions. Covid19 and the precautions taken to stop the spread of the virus revealed that our individual desires are perhaps fairly simple: generally speaking, we crave freedom and human contact and are not as happy when deprived of it. Whilst our desires may be fairly simple, contemporary civilisations have convoluted our ability to actualise them. We have created the means to contact anyone, anywhere and at any time, yet the immediate efficiency of this is eventually subsumed by the realisation that it cannot compare to face to face interaction: socialising has become an endless series of simulacra and Lockdown crystallised both the positive and negative attributes of that.
Lockdown unearthed the complexity of our day-to-day lives in having them taken away from us or altered drastically. Life became a much simpler experience and depending on individual’s circumstances, became either more or less enjoyable.
‘Freedom’ has increasingly been displaced by ‘choice’ (in the products and services we consume) and in many ways we were still able to participate in this illusory notion of freedom throughout lockdown via online stores and services. The power of this fantasy can be seen in the swollen net worth of those who own these online platforms as a result of Covid19.

 

Artwork