The Surrealists of the 1920s rocked the traditional art world with fantastical dream-like imagery, inspired by the power of the subconscious mind and the imagination. Artists like Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte and Joan Miro were inspired by Dadaism, the avant-garde movement born from the creative disdain for World War I and the ennui of middle class. The group used Dada as a jumping off point to delve further into the bizarre without the confines of tradition, creating the Surrealist movement in their exploration. Their work challenged not only preconceived guidelines in art, but also raised question on social mores, popular cultural and politics across Europe and eventually in the United States. Fusing free association, poetry, subconscious imagery and new processes, the Surrealists created their own language of art that has produced countless modern masterpieces that are highly regarded in art history today.
The eclectic days of Dali may be over, but Modern Surrealists are continuing the day dream, creating new surrealist art escapes for collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Lori Zimmer's Top 10 Surrealist Picks
Using collage techniques, Gallagher’s pieces combine the often surprising juxtaposition of the Surrealists, with modern challenges of femininity, sourcing many of her collage elements from decades of fashion magazines.
Playful and fun, this Surrealist take on a can of sardines has the fish itself peeling back its scales to reveal a tinny inside. The artist, Art Grafts, is the surrealist alter ego of fine art photographer Dominic Rouse.
Surrealists obscured familiar landscapes and scenes with out of place elements to create dream-like vistas. Here, Nati fuses the famous and picturesque Neuschwansten Castle in Southwest Bavaria, Germany with the architectural elements of a nuclear power station, creating a dystopian structure forced to adapt to an apparent environmental collapse.
Hare pushes architectural limits, fusing engineered elements to create this trippy space-age, super-structure, whose stilts evoke Dali’s elephants. The conglomeration functions as an urban lighthouse, showing pieces of street art, construction scaffolds, and city signage.
The clouds of Rene Magritte are reimagined in a warm embrace, embossed with a Swarovski crystal stud. The limited edition print was made from an original collage, sourced from vintage magazines and printed ephemera by hand.
Another artist influenced by the oeuvre of Magritte, D’Ambra’s behatted gentleman personifies the “notion of talking to a brick wall,” using that literal humor Surrealists loved.
Dali loved to draw melting imagery- from clocks to human faces. Moore’s whimsical paintings, which are available affordably in a print edition of 50, feature birds in flight, pigment dripping from their wings, intertwining the creature with the atmosphere. Dali would approve.
With the tongue-in-cheek humor of the Surrealists, Bousserez creates hilarious vignettes that play with scale- in the vein of Gulliver’s Travels. Using tiny plastic people, Bousserez’s characters play all across human bodies. The Barber is especially playful, using a tiny lawnmower to trim the 5 o’clock shadow from a man’s face.
Influences of Piet Mondrian and Giorgio Di Chirico can be felt Whiston’s powerful architectural piece. Bold primary colors make the piece a stand out, as well as its incredible size- holding its own at 2 meters high!
Only in a Surrealist mind does a scarab beetle crawl the earth with a Renaissance portrait upon its back. Pulling from Egyptology as well as the Old Masters, Gjoen creates a modern masterpiece that uses art history to add a glimmer of fantasy to the everyday.
Surrender to SurrEalism | A CurateD Collection
Surrender to surrealism and indulge in some escapism with our curated collection of unique artworks from a selection of Rise Art's most talented Modern Surrealists.
About the Author
Lori Zimmer is a writer and curator who has evolved along side the public art/graffiti community. She is the creator of popular blog Art Nerd New York, an art history guide to New York City that also provides off beat access to public art, exhibitions and artists’ studios. Since 2009, Lori has been working actively in the art world on many facets, from writing to curatorial projects to advising artists and event planning. Zimmer resides in New York City, but travels every chance she gets, visiting artists and galleries across the world.
Follow her @ArtNerdNY