All of Jeff Bartels’ paintings are exquisitely crafted, and truly worthy of the hyperrealist designation—but his latest series is fascinating for an entirely new and different reason as well.
Titled “Alternative Artifacts,” these mind-expanding paintings feature historical objects that never really existed. Some may remind you of steampunk creations, with their blend of modern and antique parts; but they all have a very timely message to share with the viewing public.
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Let’s take a look, shall we?
Antique Camera Phone (above) is, perhaps, the most subtle of Jeff’s “Alternative Artifacts” series. If you happen to overlook the tiny lens and unassuming buttons spaced pleasingly around the rotary dial, the entire painting could almost be taken at face-value: an actual antique telephone.
And that quick assumption of truth is the entire point.
Jeff explains, “[This series] explores what it means to live in the post-truth era where facts are no longer seen as absolute. . . This manipulation mirrors the misinformation found on the internet, spread on social media, amplified by fringe news outlets and trumpeted by extremist governments.”
His next painting, entitled Track Skate combines a battered leather skate with tank treads. It’s clearly more fictional than the first painting (to my viewpoint, anyway) but painted in a similarly-detailed style.
I’m an absolute huge fan of the textures seen throughout Jeff’s work. . . he’s incredibly adept at creating leather, metal, rubber, and various other surface details simply through painstakingly careful application of paint.
But perhaps my favorite painting is this last one: Wind Powered Bike.
I highly recommend visiting Jeff’s website to view this painting full-size. The beautifully-rendered words on its tire walls, those gleaming, spiraling tubes that make up its French horn engine, and its impeccable vintage styling are all worthy reasons to take a longer, closer look.
And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out Jeff’s other realistic paintings. All of them are absolutely stunning, and well worth your time!