Resembling a collision of Beatrix Potter and Steampunk, Toronto artist Stephen Appleby-Barr’s oil paintings are charming on the surface but after looking for a few seconds something is obviously quite rotten in the state of Denmark. It’s like realizing that your great grandfather was an opium addict.
Appleby-Barr’s paintings are rendered exquisitely in the style of Old Masters like Velazquez. His technique references the rich and luminous qualities found in 18th Century artwork. Some of Appleby’s paintings are based on old found daguerreotypes and others he stages in the same tradition. He inserts people he knows and interweaves secret symbols to create a personal mythology.
He has also invented a hidden underworld called the Invisible College in which his paintings develop the imaginary histories of secret societies such as the Blind Oarsmen of Buchan. Appleby-Barr’s work is so very beautiful and interesting but also very unsettling.
Stephen-Appleby Barr is respresented by the Nicholas Metivier Gallery
More of his work can be seen here.
All artwork is copyright Stephen Appleby-Barr.