Robischon Gallery is pleased to present four distinctive concurrent solo exhibitions exploring themes of magic-realism, phantasmagoria and the absurd. Referencing a vast range of art-historical and cross-cultural sources, artists Kahn + Selesnick, Christian Rex van Minnen, Terry Maker and Jeff Starr playfully provoke and engage via a complex mix of surreal storytelling and a fevered visual flux.
“Welsh Rats” is a complexly layered presentation of new and recent paintings by emerging, New York-based artist Christian Rex van Minnen. Extolling his lavishly ornamented personal vocabulary of subtle and outrageous grotesqueries, van Minnen’s unsettling and disfigured, yet comical portraits hang alongside still life paintings of twisted tulips and hyper-real glistening entrails. Equally tangential, the exhibition title of “Welsh Rats,” is the Anglicization of the German word 'Weltschmerz' a reference by John Steinbeck in “East of Eden” meaning “world pain.” This sincere yet somewhat naive American (mis)interpretation of weighty European concepts of the past, reflects the confusion of language and history which is crucial to van Minnen’s artistic stance. This extends not just to the artist’s perception of European culture and painting but, also to how Native American and other ancient histories are also assimilated through art. Likened to a modern Archimboldo, van Minnen states, "I find myself either suppressing or indulging of my own desire to associate personal narrative to the raw visual information inherent in the material and process. Construction, destruction and reconstruction are symbiotic elements in the creative process allowing the image to fluctuate between abstraction and representation, truth and illusion, personal and archetypal."
Christian Rex van Minnen received a BA from Regis College and a Master’s degree from Regis University in Denver. He has been featured in numerous group exhibitions across the US and in Europe including Florida State University Museum of Fine Art, Seattle Pacific Arts Center, Biologiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden and ROJO Art Space in Barcelona, Spain with additional exhibitions in Hamburg, Germany and Sydney, Australia. An Artist-in-Residence at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, CO and an Artist’s Audition National Call winner, van Minnens has had paintings frequently published. This is his first Robischon Gallery solo exhibition.