Travis Louie’s hypnotic “portraiture” is compelling for its blend of the hyper realistic with the blatantly unreal. Fantastical creatures gaze out from paintings so technically refined (using transparent layers of acrylic paint over a tight graphite drawing on a smooth flat surface) that they look uncannily like old photographs. Adding to the discomfiting presence these animal/monster like chimeras have are the human expressions- even if the creature in the paintings looks a bit bizarre, it also looks spookily familiar as well. Often in his work Louie seeks to create mythological ancestors…long-lost “relatives” captured in Victorian cabinet card/ tint type images.
His own interest in Noir imagery, German Expressionism, personal dream imagery, (not to mention B movie monsters!) as well as his recent discovery of old photographs of “human oddities” that were not from sideshow photographs, but rather photographs that documented that person’s “normal life” (i.e. the famous photo of John Merrick (The Elephant Man) dressed in formal evening wear for a night at the theater) all combined in this latest series of works to create an incredible series of portraits that you may just recognize elements of your own family members in!
For more info please visit Roq La Rue Gallery