Michael Luberry at artmonte-carlo

Streams of tears, wondrous eyes, and enormous sculpted hairstyles burst out of their frames in Michael Luberry’s new series of paintings and drawings. Inspired by the vibrancy of Berlin’s diverse newcomer and queer subcultures, the stunning works capture the innocence of youth and feelings of intense longing that infuse everyday encounters in bars, cafés, locker rooms, and bedrooms. The artist calls the artworks ‘landscape-inspired portraits’, for they overwhelm one’s field of vision, drawing the viewer into the imagined worlds of his subjects. The images are snapshots of busy streetscapes and passing glimpses of strangers in transit that tap into other-worldly visions of desire, romance, and intimacy.

The works’ solid geometric shapes contain simple and surprisingly comic elements which are at once bold and definite, yet filled with a lightness afforded by pink, blue, and mint green pastels. Strong masculine figures are rendered as echos of oversized flowers holding the poses of radiant ballerinas from Degas paintings. Matte and velvet textures give softness to the grit of everyday Berlin. Etched in pencil, paint, and pastel, the figures display vulnerability and sincerity, as well as a lust for self-fashioning, experimentation, and performance. The psychic world of subjects’ experience is shown, however, not through tropes of affective realism, but by invoking dream-like and symbolic elements. Luberry’s collection forges a unique aesthetic that combines vivid colour, elegant line, and a deep appreciation for fantasy. It invites us to reflect on the role of imagination in shaping our daily lives and on the creative ways that we tell stories about who we are.
—M. Connors Jackman
Michael Luberry
Born 1982 in Newfoundland, Canada. He studied at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Edinburgh College of Art. His drawings and paintings reference folklore and its potential evolution in urban settings. He lives and works in Berlin.

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