Gerd Lieder’s Reflections of the World
Inspired by the large format paintings by the original Photorealists of the 1960s and 1970s, Gerd Lieder developed his own style and work methods through bold autodidactic discipline. As a result of ever-progressing technology — i.e., the change from the analog to the digital camera as well as access to computer software to see more details and aid in design — Lieder’s signature style has evolved from somewhat looser Photorealism to ultra-sharp, highly meticulous Hyperrealism.
Using traditional oil paint and brush, he confidently captures a variety of subject matter — from still lifes to portraits and nudes, and from architecture to interiors and cityscapes. The common thread across all of his artwork is his passionate pursuit of painting reflections; those we see in water, metal, tile, polished stone, glass, glossy plastic, and metal foil. Playing with light, color and distortions, Lieder catches a fleeting moment in time which offers an accurate representation entwined with intriguingly abstract patterns that invite the eyes to toggle between recognizable visuals and puzzling, almost graphic content.
Lieder’s paintings are often inspired by his travels to large cosmopolitan cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, London, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, where the opulence of the urban lifestyle catches his eye and imagination. High-end fashion, design, architecture, luxury brands, and stylish shop windows — in other words, the glamorous world of the ultra-rich — are captured in his paintings from a very personal viewpoint.
Lieder’s strength lies in the careful portrayal of a suspended moment in time by infusing it with a sense of voyeurism, encouraging us to participate as spectators. It’s an invitation to gaze unashamedly at hidden facets of our egos; our secret hunger for splendor and opulence. He offers us the pleasure of observing a coveted object, fascinating setting, or mysterious person through a distorted lens that amplifies and metamorphoses our visual world.
There’s a moving sense of ambiguity to Lieder’s paintings that is achieved through skillful cropping and a selective focus on details, or by giving a larger context to scenes abundant in understated atmosphere, or by only showing glimpses of anonymous distant figures. His sophisticated paintings of shop windows, for example, are exquisitely intricate; there Lieder truly shows off his mastery at capturing several planes of perception, giving the viewer hints about location and season, while paying close attention to the beauty of inanimate objects and lavish textures.
His close-ups of coveted luxury items, such as perfume bottles and designer shoes, are both visually and psychologically pleasing, their extravagance captured by way of graceful contours, vivid color palettes, and the elaborate abstractions within opulent surface materials. Lieder’s alluring interior settings, in which large expanses of polished flooring often enhance the mystique of distant figures, are masterpieces that perfectly capture the diffuse interplay of lights and shadows within hushed stylish environments.
Currently, Lieder is working on an exciting new series of large format paintings focusing on the human figure. As expected, far from being traditional portraits these paintings seamlessly extend Lieder’s repertoire as he continues to infuse his eye-catching compositions with his signature reflections and distortions. Complementing his figures with unexpected materials, such as cellophane or glass blocks, simultaneously enhance and obscure facial features, creating completely new, highly whimsical labyrinths within our sense of reality.
Indeed, Lieder’s paintings represent an important metaphor of Reality: Strikingly capturing three-dimensionality on a two-dimensional plane, he offers the psychovisual interpretation of the fact that when we look at something or someone, we merely perceive a fragment as inevitably a large part of it remains hidden behind a veil of expectations, limited insight, and a multitude of personal biases. There’s an enriching depth and gravitas to Lieder’s oeuvre; not only in the joy of witnessing serious craftmanship, but also in the profound way of presenting his philosophy that — when the viewer opens up to it — affects the way in which we see the world around us, and ultimately perhaps even ourselves.
Visit Gerd Lieder’s website HERE!
Written by Lorena Kloosterboer — Antwerp, Belgium, July 2019