Joel Rea is a highly acclaimed and multi award-winning artist known for his surreal, allegorical paintings. Rea’s oil on canvas works stand somewhere between genres of hyperrealism, photorealism and virtuosic Renaissance realism. From this amalgamation of influences, Rea has created a unique and recognisable style portraying social awareness and personal introspection through his impeccable execution of brush work detail.
Inspired by the mysteries of the animal kingdom and the Universe beyond, Rea’s meanings and narratives touch on the vast complexity of the human condition, presenting messages embracing the ageless turmoil of human inner consciousness and our species’ unwavering desire to survive. Rea combines contemporary visuals with qualities of the sublime in painting, provoking the deepest possible emotional response through technically achieved aesthetics. His imagery frequently depicts: self-portraits; tigers; dogs; sun rays coming through clouds; and destructive waves inspired by the turbulent Australian coastline where he played as a child.
In an article for the Huffington Post, Brandon Kralik writes – ‘Representational painting today is not what it used to be and cannot be dismissed as longing for the past or harkening back to the Romantics of the 19th century. Although Rea’s work shares an aesthetic with Romanticism this is not about going back at all. They take from the past and move us toward tomorrow.
He calls himself a Contemporary Surrealist Painter. Wikipedia describes Contemporary art as having developed from Postmodern art and although Joel Rea is very much alive and is dealing with issues of our present time, his work is far removed from the multimedia and purely conceptual work that has come to define Postmodernism and much of what is referred to as Contemporary art. To me Rea’s work moves in separate direction, one that is reconstructive, or Post Contemporary, as it places importance on craftsmanship and empathy. One thing for certain is that Rea’s paintings speak in a language where such words are not needed at all. There need be no artspeak to accompany them, to tell the viewer what is happening. The paintings speak for themselves.’