Joram Roukes’ collage-like oil paintings, with their floating figures and colorful washes, appear dreamy, but his greatest inspiration has always been based in reality. In “The Great Beyond,” his new solo exhibition currently on view at StolenSpace Gallery in London, he sets out to escape it. Roukes has recently experienced a sort of escape himself, when he relocated from the Netherlands to Los Angeles. This time last year, he held his first show as an Angeleno, “Paramnesia” (covered here), which summed up that experience visually. Now with a wider sense of exploration, Roukes continues to draw upon his life experiences.
His paintings in “The Great Beyond”, coupled with outdoor works, reflect on a certain lack of satisfaction with society. They are not necessarily his own feelings, but a dissatisfied generation’s of those who strive constantly for happiness. Our need for relief from our reality is at the heart of Roukes’ main concept – escapism. He reconceptualizes these ideas in his mix of techniques and abstract motifs. The words “The Great Beyond” are etched into the show’s titular painting, an image of charging men in uniform whose heads have been replaced with chimps’. It’s a scene now too familiar to the artist, living in America where the question of police brutality is raised daily. It is one example of Roukes’ ability to create quirky, jarring pictures of human behavior today. Take a look at more images from the show below, courtesy of the gallery.
“The Great Beyond” by Joram Roukes is now on view at StolenSpace Gallery through June 28th.