Viennese artist Martin C. Herbst likes to explore distortion with his paintings, but the distortions aren’t paint effects. He paints beautiful, classical-looking portraits on malleable surfaces, then shifts the materials around to distort the paintings. The effects are almost other-worldly. In particular, his oil paintings on foil strike me as looking like they’re peering through a tear in time. Fascinating stuff, and it must all be quite delicate, too.
He takes as his inspiration the work of Mannerist painter Parmigianino, whose painting style favored elongated figures in formal, stylized poses. In the 16th century, all mirrors were curved, and so Parmigianino’s “Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror” gave Herbst the idea to paint in oils on reflective surfaces which he then folds strategically, revealing just a bit of the original painting. Herbst’s mirrorized aluminum foil portraits, once folded, become disjointed, seeming almost cubist in style. But still out from the depths and folds stare these moving, soulful, timeless faces, sometimes reflected in duplicate or triplicate. I’m really in love with this work!