“Nethermoor”: A Fantastical Mélange of Exotic Creatures
by Frank Forte
Roq La Rue, a fine art gallery located in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle, recently exhibited the work of artist Chris Berens, whose dark and fantastical paintings invites us to want to know more about his imaginary worlds. Gazing into one of these paintings brought me back to a time when I was a kid playing Dungeons and Dragons or reading an Elric novel, envisioning a place that only existed in the mind. The words on the printed page brought to life strange creatures and landscapes that I struggled to figure out, but here, on the canvas, Chris succeeded where my brain had failed. A true modern master, Chris Berens needs to be appreciated and given the space to keep doing what he does.
Chris Berens is a Dutch painter whose work features a fantastical mélange of exotic creatures and 18th century imagery in soft focus. Startling, photorealistic, and distorted; his narratives feature totem-like animals and childlike people floating through dreamy European cityscapes, or decrepit ships in stormy seas shimmering as if in a fevered dream.
Building on classical glazing techniques that recall the work of Vermeer and Rembrandt, Berens constructs his compositions through painting on layers of emulsion, 1-3 inch pieces of plastic coating, and paper; resulting in an incredibly luminous and uniquely textured piece that flows seamlessly into a cohesive image. Each section has been been painted numerous times and layered over and over. This technique creates images with such depth that along with his technical perfection it creates the illusion of a digitally composed or manipulated image. However, once up close and in person, it is evident that these works are created and painted by hand with painstaking skill, time, and precision from beginning to end.
Roq la Rue
532 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98104
To see the full show, please click here: http://roqlarueberens.blogspot.com/
About The Gallery:
Roq La Rue gallery was opened back in 1998 by Kirsten Anderson as a reaction to the Northwest’s then lack of alternative art spaces. Fueled by a devotion to the rapidly growing Lowbrow/Pop Surrealism art movement, the gallery quickly gained notoriety, and respect, as one of only of a handful of galleries globally (at the time) willing to show the work. As a bonus, an enthusiastic community of collectors responded quickly to the gallery’s eclectic mix of artists, whose outlaw sensibilities and counter-cultural subject matter was rendered with undeniable ability and vision.
Since that exciting time, Roq la Rue has moved several times, before finally landing at its largest and poshest digs yet, settling into a beautiful and airy location in the historic neighborhood of Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle.
We’ve expanded our vision & program by working with artists and collectors around the globe, gained national & international recognition, and earned a solid reputation. It’s been an amazing and rewarding ride thus far.
Everyone involved with Roq La Rue love and are committed to the gallery, the artists we are privileged to work with, and the extended community we are honored to be a part of. In 2014 we made an exciting change by bringing on a new active partner in Sharon Arnold. We hope to continue to be a supportive and exciting space that helps launch new artists and bring greater exposure to more established ones.
Frank Forte Bio
Frank Forte is an accomplished designer, storyboard artist and comic book artist. He has worked in animation for feature films, TV and gaming. Some of the shows Frank has worked on include: Bob’s Burgers, Despicable Me 2, Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out, The Super Hero Squad Show, Marvel Heroes 4D, Lego Hero Factory, Lego Bionicle: The Legend Reborn, Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi, Re-Animated Pilot (Out of Jimmy’s Head), The Mr. Men Show, Bionicle: The Legend Reborn (DVD-2009), Lego Clutch Powers 4D ride at Legoland and Lego Atlantis. He co-created The Cletus and Floyd Show with Gene McGuckin, a tribute to animation directors Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones. Robert S. Rhine and Frank Forte created the pilot episode of Sickcom the Animated Series, which was sold to Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival Of Animation in 2003.
In Frank’s spare time he paints. Recent shows include Laluzapalooza 2015 and Laluzapalooza Jury Winners Group Show 2015 at La Luz De Jesus Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), Villains of Animation at Van Eaton Galleries (Sherman Oaks, CA). Past shows include the CATZ Group Show at LTD. Gallery in Seattle, WA and the 6×6 group Show at The Phone Booth Gallery in Long Beach, CA. His art has been exhibited at Cannibal Flower (Los Angeles) and the Animation Guild Gallery 839 (North Hollywood).
Frank is also the publisher at Asylum Press, a publishing company that produces premium comic books and graphic novels within the horror, science fiction, and action genres.