It isn't everyday that you see interesting hyper-realistic painting in a contemporary art gallery, but Florian Buhler has managed to utilize the methods of the Old Masters while imbuing his work with contemporaneity, humor and satire. Buhler's exhibition features still-lifes and portraits, but in extremely unorthodox contexts that sometimes perturb and other times amuse.
Take, for instance, "The Portrait of the Painter", a self-portrait from an unusual angle below Buhler's chest, forcing the artist to look down, and the light to shine eerily casting shadows on the ceiling and on his face. Buhler portrays himself stereotypically with paint on his face, a paintbrush in his mouth, as well as a paint brush behind each ear, at once poking fun at painters' ego-centered personalities and the long tradition of posing with one's tools, while tipping his hat off to famous self-portraits of great masters.
In "Great Vanity Still-Life", Buhler paints an arrangement of eclectic objects from a vanity, and uses the opportunity to advertise his services by adding a sign with his phone number in the painting itself, thus creating this piece into a business card of sorts. Not only does it allude to the commercial nature of art, but he also pokes fun at himself and his style, which is wrongly considered by many contemporary artists to be too accessible to still be relevant.
(Images, from top to bottom: Florian Bühler, Great Self-Portrait and Fruit Still-Life All in One, 2009, Öl auf Leinwand/Oil on canvas, 50 x 45 cm (19 5/8 x 17 3/4"). Florian Bühler, Portrait of the Painter, 2009, Oil on canvas, 68x51cm (26 3/4 x 20 1/8"). Florian Bühler, Great Vanity Still-Life, 2009, Oil on Canvas, 60x80 cm (23 5/8 x 31 1/2").)