A woman sits nonchalantly in a bland office chair under an interrogatory fluorescent light, with her long bare legs crossed in front of her. She appears to be some demonic temptress of a business woman, fixing us with a stare over horn-rimmed glasses, her jet black hair styled into two jutting horns. The scene recalls Sharon Stone’s infamous leg-uncrossing scene in the film Basic Instinct, but the style is instantly recognizable as that of the cult digital artist Ray Caesar. Titled “The Manager”, this new work is in keeping with Caesar’s trademark ability to reference iconic poses in his work, while retaining a unique style of his own.
Caesar’s most popular digital paintings of fantastical women figures, inspired by Rococo and Impressionist paintings, have become coveted collector’s pieces. Their intricate surface patterns of luxurious fabrics and skin textures captivate the viewer in all their extraordinary detail, the result of a complex digital process using Maya 3d software that the artist likens to wrapping a map to a globe albeit with a virtual skeleton. As Caesar explains, “I collect textures the way some people collect little silver spoons, and I have a story about each texture in my collection, such as the one about my father’s hip operation scar or the picture I convinced my gastroenterologist to give me of the inside of my colon.”
Now, in his most recent work, Caesar seems to be looking toward cinema and film noir in particular. Paintings from this year feature sultry women bursting out of 1940s-style dresses, writhing on bare mattresses and, in the case of “Self Examination Study”, one willowy figure touching herself in a Dior-esque wide brimmed hat.
In these works Caesar’s characters are still exaggerated in face and figure, but less alien in detail. Most have grown from titillating girls flirting on Baroque sofas into full-figured erotic women, though young ones do still feature. In “Revelation”, a little blonde girl floats among chairs, lamps, tea cups and a telescope, seemingly underwater. The current lifts her Victorian sailor’s dress to reveal incongruous tool belts holding sharp knives against her belly as her cap drifts away.
In the next few weeks are two opportunities to view new work by this British-born, Canadian-based digital wizard. Caesar is part of a group show at Gallery House in Toronto called “Miles to go Before I Sleep” opening on 29 November 2012. He also has a solo show opening on 15 December 2012 at the KochxBos Gallery in Amsterdam, which is said to feature new dream-like worlds of figures and animals.
Images courtesy of Gallery House