Wiltshire's 18th century Fonthill Abbey has been invaded by a tropical landscape and mysterious aboriginal American figures in this surreal painting by the award-winning 2018 graduate Rene Gonzalez.
Growing up first in Canada as the son of political refugees, then Costa Rica in a Latin culture he didn’t understand, and since coming to London to study, Rene tries to convey in his images his experience of the world as a beautiful and slightly scary enigma. A place where we can never be entirely familiar with "the recognizable" and that "the foreign" is part of the everyday.
Near an entrance, time presents itself combines these formative elements of the artist's background: the lavish columns and decorative arches of the British abbey are juxtaposed with the wild and lush Costa Rican tropical flora. At the same time, traditional Latin American religious figures take refuge in the Abbey ceremoniously positioning themselves in front of the Gothic stained glass windows, alluding to the parallels between the different cultures and views on spirituality.
As often in his work, the artist depicts these seductive and dark visual narratives, inspired by his perception of feeling like "an outsider". Blending the inside and outside of both architecture and cultural constructs, the resulting images appear as if from a modern fairy tale where creatures, objects and spaces can be both seductive and terrifying and fundamentally, unpredictable.
You can hear more about this work in our interview with Rene Gonzalez here.
Rene Gonzalez graduated with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Painting from City & Guilds of London Art School. His work has been exhibited at Messums Wiltshire, the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, The Great Western Studios (solo show), Salone del Mobile, Milan, Art Helix Gallery
NY, the OXO Tower Gallery and Galerie Belem, Paris, (solo show).
Rene was awarded second place in the Art Gemini 2014 Prize, first place in the Clyde & Co Blank Canvas Art Prize 2015, and was selected to be part of the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2018.