MIKE DARGAS “Transformation” C24 Gallery until 25th Feb 2017
by Laura Gomez
C24 Gallery is proud to present Transformation, the first solo exhibition in the United States by German artist Mike Dargas. On view will be large scale oil on canvas paintings produced in the artist’s signature style of realism. Transformation will be until February 25, 2017.
In Transformation, Mike Dargas explores the process of change – a fundamental and inevitable circumstance of life. Having gone through recent major changes in his own life, the artist examines the moment of personal transformation: the struggle, the hope, and the fear. This new body of work aims to visually capture a feeling that is difficult to explain, but universally felt.
This exhibition presents oversized, hyper-realistic portraits of people that challenge the viewer to consider the artist’s rigorous technique. Upon first glance, Dargas’ masterly use of color shading and blending, rich with nuances, sharpen the view of the picturesque leaving the impression of a photograph– a moment captured in time. A closer observation confirms the large scale painting of portraits established by macroscopically precise details. Each individual portrait manages to convey intimate, implied surreal atmospheres fusing the relationship between art, imagination, and reality.
The visually exciting paintings reflect the emotional and dramatic life of the painter, and therefore the subject, at various points in time.
Mike Dargas was born in 1983 in Cologne, Germany. Inspired by artists such as Dali, Caravaggio and H.R. Giger, Mike Dargas has studied various painting techniques since his early childhood when he developed a passion for realism, which over the years has developed into hyper-realism. He attracted attention at age eleven recreating old master paintings with pastel and chalk on the pavement in front of Cologne Cathedral. Shortly after, Dargas graduated in his youth from an adult art class after only one and a half years. Through these classes coupled with independent study, Dargas has learned and honed different techniques in painting and three dimensional art.
Mike Dargas has exhibited internationally throughout Germany, Belgium, London, Spain, Turkey, and Austria. His works are included in numerous private collections and have been featured in international art fairs such as Contemporary Istanbul, Art Miami, Stroke, and Art New York.
Transformation marks his first solo exhibition in the United States. Mike Dargas continues to work in his studio in Cologne, Germany.
Name: Mike Dargas
How would you define yourself as an artist? I am a realistic painter.
Why are you an artist, and when did you first become one? For as long as I can think, I am an artist. It is the only thing I think I am good at.
What art do you most identify with? Realism and surrealism.
What themes do you pursue? Figurative art.
What inspires you to work: People, art, music, fashion, nearly everything.
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Book: DalÍ
Favorite Movie: Titanic
Favorite Food: Definetly Burger
Favorite Quote: „What doesn ?t kill you, makes you stronger“
Can we talk a bit about your process at the beginning of a project? How do you conceive of it? How do you build it in your mind before you start? Most of my works deal with my current state of mind. Therefore my paintings strongly reflect my moods and feelings. It is very interesting to observe for myself when I look back at my artworks. I remember an early series which was quite male, dark and destructive. It was dealing with inner conflicts, anger and diremption. The background was mostly held in black. Whereas the next series focussed on femininity,beauty and fragility. The colors where much lighter, with a returning sky blue or pale grey. The additional liquids in this series, called „Beauty“ series, imitates the various masks we use in our everyday life to hide and protect ourselves. Compared to very early paintings showing a clean portrait I was surprised by how easy a personality can be hidden by small adjustments. Also I understood beauty had a healing effect on my soul and my personal situation at the time. It also was a harbinger for the following „Transformation“ series. For my new series, named „Transformation“, I have asked myself how people deal with their search for identity and overcome personal conflicts. The series explores the process of change – a fundamental and inevitable circumstance of life. Having gone through major changes myself, I examined the moment of personal transformation: the struggle, hope and fear. This new body of work aims to visually capture a feeling that is difficult to explain, but universally felt.
What Role does the artist have in society? He is a mirror of time and society.
Do you suffer for your art? Art is always challenging. For the artist and even for the observer. And artistic creation often comes along with inner struggle and reflection. But this exposure belongs to an artists’ life. It brings more depth and authenticity into the art.
You seem to use a lot of symbols in your work. Do your works tell stories or are they simply decorative elements of the project? As I have mentioned they are telling a very personal story but deal with universal themes. The symbolism might be a remnant of the times as a tattoo artist.
Should art be funded? Why? First of all governments should understand and support the fact that art and culture are the foundation stone of society and that both have a significant influence on ethics and moral understanding. Therefore, of course, it must be funded.
What famous artists have influenced you, and how? I have always been inspired by the Old Masters and their imagery. My favourite artists are Salvador Dali, Caravaggio, HR Giger, Gottfried Helnwein and Sandorfi. I am obsessed with details like light conditions, depth of focus and structures. It ?s the perfection of surrealism and realism, that fascinates me since childhood. Gottfried Helnwein for instance is my rolemodel in modern realism. I want to bring traditional and modern art together and combine it in my works.
What other interests do you have outside of art? I love motorbikes. It is the best thing to do to relax.
You seem to be very aware of the history of works. Where do you see films, photo exhibitions, art perfomances today? I am lucky to travel a lot these days. Every time I explore a new place I also visit local museum or galleries. That is the best part of travelling.
How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art? I would definetly become depressed.
What are your next projects? I had a great start this year, opening my first solo show in New York City with C24 Gallery. New York has a thrilling art scene and it was crazy to become part of it. Right now I am catching some inspiriation in L.A. where I will be giving my first painting workshop and am about to prepare upcoming shows and my first museum exhibition. So stay tuned!
What’s the best advice anyone gave you? Trust your intuition.