I just really want to talk about Michaël Borremans. I absolutely love the work he produces and he is such an inspiration for my own work. He is a Belgian painter born in 1963 and his pieces possess such disturbing and visceral content while being the most mundane. He used to be a photographer (and went to school for it) but ended up teaching himself to paint. Probably because he used to be so involved with photography, his paintings are created by meshing and manipulating images from old photos into paintings that he makes his own.
He’s still very active and continues to make amazing work, but he never seems to come off as pretentious even with his success and talent. He often claims that he may work in the studio for hours and he does not produce anything of worth. He is humbled. He is able to create his own personal world that seems as if it is such a realized, large world. Borremans seems to pride himself on is ability to avoid labeling with the figurative painting world. He does not paint portraits, but characters and these characters are what define him.For instance, the image below is a perfect example of how his images are so easily able to grab a viewer’s attention. Simply stating the obvious: this painting is weird. It doesn’t make sense, but there is not enough information for one to explain why it doesn’t. It is titled The Angel, but the image does not allude to average connotations of what an expected angel would look like. A blackened face, somber stature, and unknown environment, create a work that is inhabited.
Borremans has also made it clear that he is rather ashamed of his subject. In an art world that celebrates figurative painters, he finds himself uncomfortable with the title. This may be because of his hatred of most figurative painters with their trite subject matter and personal technique that tries creating an impossible—and rather ridiculous—illusion. Borremans does not care for maintaining such an egoist form of representation within the painting world. He often chooses to reveal the canvas and paint in a way to elicit emotions, not try and paint something just to look nice in a collector’s house.
Again, I can’t help but admire the subtle nuances of his work that truly invoke such complex feelings. This piece, The Devil’s Dress II, is haunting. Even with its modest subject and simple composition, it manages create a series of thoughts: why is she there? What is she wearing? Why is she wearing that? Why is she on the ground? Is she okay? I feel that the numerous questions with no explanation is the real power in Borremans work and why it makes him such an enigmatic painter.
I truly feel that his work is made in such a way that he doesn’t need to do much else. He can just make the work he wants and enjoy hating when others call him a “figurative painter”.
P.S. I have no idea why the fonts are different?? I tried everything I could think of? Was it because I copied and pasted it from a word doc?