Introduction by JACKSON FINE ART
ATLANTA. April 5, 2017. Jackson Fine Art is proud to present new exhibitions from Matthew Brandt and Ruud van Empel, two contemporary artists whose works challenge preconceptions of traditional photography. Brandt is known for employing early processes that celebrate the material essence of analog photography, while van Empel’s digital composites result from the meticulous assemblage of hundreds of the artist’s own source photographs into one photorealistic image. On the evening of Friday, April 28th, from 6-8pm, we will host an opening reception with both artists in attendance. On Saturday, April 29th at 3:30pm, Ruud van Empel will give an artist’s talk at the gallery, followed by questions and a book signing. At 2pm, Matthew Brandt will speak at the Hill Auditorium for a program presented in cooperation with the High Museum.
Ruud van Empel’s striking large-format photomontages apply painterly precision and detail to a medium often derided in contemporary fine art photography — the digital composite. His youthful subjects and lush settings do not exist outside of van Empel’s Photoshop workspace, where the artist utilizes his own photographs of models in different settings and a large collection of images he has collected over time to create complex portraits of startling realism, marked by a tinge of the uncanny. In World, van Empel depicted innocent subjects adrift in elaborate natural settings, evoking magical realism and the pastoral children’s portraits of the German painter Otto Dix. Portraits, van Empel’s third exhibition at Jackson Fine Art, draws on two new series for which van Empel shifts away from the straightforward fantasy of earlier bodies of work in favor of a psychological contemplation of his subjects. Mood and Analogy recall van Empel’s Dutch artistic heritage through clasically posed portraits reminiscent of painted miniatures and distinguished by dark, earthy tones and dramatic chiarrascuro. Van Empel’s young inventions appear not lost in the world, but living in it, with all of the complexity and depth that entails.
Dutch photographer Ruud van Empel (1958-present) is celebrated for his intricate collage process, often merging a number of images through photo editing software and other digital approaches. Themes blend Surrealism with classic Western portraiture, resulting in pictures that are both dreamlike and familiar. An early career in graphic design as well as designing for theater productions and television informed his approach to photography, greatly focused on technology’s influence on the modern world. Born in Breda, Netherlands, van Empel grew up to study at the St. Joost Academy of Art and graduated in 1981.