The images by Simon Monk strike me for two reason. At first, for the subject they represent: the most famous superheroes reduced to figurines and trapped in a transparent plastic bag. But after being amused by this, I also found out that they are paintings, executed with incredible mastery, with such a level of hyperrealism that nobody believes me when I say it.
My first encounter with these paintings came while randomly researching art through the web. And there it was: Bat Man! Lately, I almost daily come across some Bat Man-related artwork, and at some point I decided to archive all the images portraying this character ‘hunting’ me. The Bat Man immortalized by Simon Monk, though, has a special quality. I would almost say that he is ‘mortalized’ rather than immortalized. That powerful challenging pose, his tense muscles, the body ready to defeat whomever crosses his path with bad intentions. And all of this for what? He has just been made into a collectable object, that the obsessive care of a collector has put into a transparent bag. A superhero reduced to an object of contemplation. Just like all those comics books kept into plastic bags, so that they are not to be read anymore, in the name of sterile preservation.
Having two brothers, I am familiar since my childhood with all these characters, and also their secret identities. Secret Identity is the name of this ongoing series, with which Simon Monk is not simply celebrating these icons of proud masculinity. The title of each piece refers to the human identity of the various Bat Man, Robin, Superman and the others. We are in front of a mask, and even that mask is made obscure by the games of light-reflection produced by the plastic bags.
The rendition of the images into a painting demonstrate the incredible technical skills of Simon Monk. The artist sees his condition of painter like the one of the superheroes in Secret Identity: all his fantasies (which are his superpowers) have to be constrained into an image. And also, in the studio the complex personality of Simon Monk becomes the one-directional mask of the painter.
The body of work by Simon Monk does not comprise only superheroes. To see more of his art, you can visit his website.
Images thanks to Simon Monk.
(Via ruines humaines)