Surrealist Art

Surrealism art is a type of art that aims to escape reality, existing instead in a world dominated by dreams and the human subconscious. Born in 1924, the surrealist art movement had its epicentre in Paris and its goal was to liberate human experience from the boundaries of rationalism. Its co-founder, the artist and poet, André Breton, studied Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis and was fixated on the idea that the unconscious mind was the source of human creativity. That’s why surrealist artists used techniques to allow their subconscious to express itself freely. Automatic drawing, for example, was said to be a way to let the subconscious take charge by letting the hand move freely or randomly across the page.…

These techniques may have been more ambition than reality. It was Joan Miró who said in 1952, “I was drawing almost entirely from hallucinations”. However, traces of grids can be seen beneath some of the Catalan artist’s works, suggesting these paintings had been meticulously planned.

Salvador Dali is the world’s most famous surrealist artist. His well-known dystopian dreamscapes featured bizarre motifs such as his lobster telephone or his iconic melting clocks. But it was Dali’s ability to merge these otherworldly images into his realistic style, making his artwork at once both strange and familiar.

The combination of strange and familiar was also evident in the work of surrealist, René Magritte. The Belgian’s deadpan painting style makes peculiar subjects seem at first normal; prompting a distrust in the viewer. His images of the headless man in a bowler hat are well-known and in The Spirit of Geometry, Magritte also swaps the heads of a mother and baby resulting in an effect is both comic and unsettling.

Strange and Familiar

While some say surrealism died with Andre Breton in the 1960s, its influence lives on in the work of Rise Art’s own surrealist artists. Rise Art has been designed to help new and established art collectors easily discover and buy surrealism arm created by rising and mid-career artists. We have an extensive range of surrealist painting, collage and photography that has been hand selected by our expert team of curators.

Digital artist, Philip McKay reimagines Dali’s telephone in A New Machine, where his giant Photoshopped phone dwarfs the tiny figures walking towards it on the beach. In Waiting For The Rain, he nods again to Magritte with a figure, suspended in the clouds, who keeps hold of his hat and umbrella, despite missing his head.

The influence of Magritte is also evident in Peter Horvath’s Untitled (Marlboro Man). The Canadian collage artist distorts the iconic image of the brooding, macho cowboy, tracing Margritte’s fine line between familiar and bizarre by distorting the well-known advert.

Alexandra Gallagher is another artist who uses collage to distort reality. His hallucinogenic landscapes merge urban and rural environments to create a disorientating space-like backdrop to oversized humans. Her work, Forbidden Fruit sees a giant God-like woman, draw on an apple, in front of pink forests layered onto craggy mountains.

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