Master of His Magical Universe: Surreal Paintings of Chris Berens
Chris Berens is a Dutch painter. While he takes inspiration from the quality of light in the paintings of Vermeer and Rembrandt, his themes lie more within the realms of surrealism and visionary art than traditional painting. Although his work is completely hand-painted, his paintings are often assumed to be digital photographic manipulation. He lives in Amsterdam with his wife Esther and their daughters Emma & Juno Leeuwenhart.
In his work, Berens represents an imaginary world he has been seeing since he was a child. “As a boy, I was pretty much what I am now – a dreamer… I always had this really special feeling over me… It’s a feeling of another place, a warm place, deep inside me, and I fill that place with all that I see and hear.”
This internal universe is painted as if it is being viewed through a distorted lens, which gives the viewer a sense of peering into a secret world, inhabited by mysterious human figures from another age and a menagerie of real and fanciful animals. He told an interviewer, “I simply try to paint the world inside my head. This world has been with me since I was a child. It is populated by people and animals and is filled with landscapes, villages, cities and scenes. All kinds of things happen in this world and various stories unfold. But it’s not the ‘normal’ world, and they are not the things that happen in the regular world.”