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Many of us take solace in nature; the sky, the mountains, the trees, the ground we stand on. Nature has control in its order and chaos that we intrinsically connect to, yet, we often try to alter the landscape and take control with dams, roads and buildings, but, without constant human effort, nature finds a way to take rule once again. Like an elder, there is something comforting in nature having control, knowing what’s best for itself and demanding the respect it deserves. My work often focuses on natural and unnatural landscapes, disconnected from their usual surroundings or places in time. I want to evoke feelings of desolation through these terrains. Ancient trees, decaying flora, and icy mountains obscure long forgotten places and objects, at once familiar and unrecognizable, creating a space for rumination that challenges the relationship to their meaning. In my most recent work, I present landscapes, some imagined, some inspired by our national parks, touched by man. In many pieces I’ve enclose the landscapes in a border of negative space by use of graphic shaped rectangular boxes mimicking a foundation, more specifically the borders we put on land; from national parks, city parks, backyards, gardens, to countries and states. This was the best way for me to represent people putting a limit on natures' edges and growth.
Within the pieces are moments that are personal to me as well, hidden within the trees and brush one will find oil rigs, fire pits, pills, rainbows, animals, palm trees, and other various curios make the piece personal to my experiences and create a greater narrative when pieced together. When I was a child my father died working on a drill ship hence the use of oil derricks, drill ships and other iconography of oil. Through the years I’ve had my share of medical issues and a myriad of medication thrown at me also creating a dependance on some of these drugs which I represent with pills and sometimes drug and medical paraphernalia. It took a long time for me to represent my own sexuality, I also didn’t want my work to be about sexuality but now I will use the well known rainbow in my work. The list goes on and all within a landscape.
Using a self-created process involving materials such as graphite, india ink, colored pencil, pen, acrylic, tape, spray paint, collage and mylar layered in resin, give an even further feeling of land’s depth.
The Italian-German artist Flavio Apel, resident in Marburg, Germany, has devoted himself since childhood to the search of perfection, achieving unusual levels of realistic accuracy.
In his art-work the artist uses realistic drawing, obtained with many hours of work using only graphite pencils on white paper, to create alternative worlds that contain moreover a deeper spiritual truth, reached after a laborious journey that takes him back in time.
It doesn't matter whether in the series "Circe" it is the enchantress herself, that is the unattainable figure of the artist's personal Odyssey who appears to us, or if it is the search for the lost childhood world, represented by the improbable encounter/confrontation of insects with everyday objects - in particular kitchen items - which seem to be livelier and more animated than the dream-frozen animals.
The protagonists of Apel's figurative world – unlike the masters of the Dutch and Flemish schools where sumptuous richly draped tables are laden with succulent fruits, glittering cutlery and shiny glasses - are semi-full soup bowls, bent forks and knives, empty cans on a white background. Insects are mutilated, often dying, to symbolize the vanity of human efforts. Apel's drawings tell stories that, apart from his own, can be interpreted and broken down by observers into thousand of hyperreal worlds.
The artist also often places the protagonists of his world of images on the periphery of the art-work. The void in the centre transports the observer toward the edges of the sheet, toward details, that at first glance seem abstract and without real meaning. The chiaroscuro of these signs guide us in the search for the image, which after a more careful observation reveal to us food remnants or insects spread on butter and as their "Final del juego" - end of game - .
In 2017 the title of an exhibition by Flavio Apel is "Andacht zum Unbedeutenden" ( Devotion to insignificant). Like the Brothers Grimm, to whom this derogatory observation was addressed, Flavio Apel leads us with his works in search of "insignificant things", far from the sensational and sumptuous ones.