Helmut Koller’s hyperrealistic paintings with abstract colors take hours, even months of work and rare talent to be made. This contemporary artist of Austrian origin, based in Palm Beach Florida, creates psychedelic, pop figurative works (evocative of Warhol’s large celebrity portraits) that require mastery of technique and attention to multiple facets of reality, similar to that applied by Dürer or the Dutch masters of 17th century.
Nothing Is More Abstract than Reality
The professional photographer with an eye for detail and a focus on the majesty and grandeur of art and opera worlds, Koller switched his career in his early thirties and started creating deeply unique and eclectic images.
His approach and artistic language developed through time. Starting with highly expressive and erotic art, inspired by Egon Schiele, he moved to the subjects of his own choice. Koller’s style, Kollerism, is defined as the realistic representation of the form and the abstraction of colors. He explains the evolution and searches for his way of expressing and translating reality and meaning in the following words:
After leaving photography behind and starting to paint, I realized that I do love the realism of the form. But since I neither do windows, nor realism, I needed another element in my paintings. Painting things as they are would be just too boring for me. It was quite a long journey through different styles, before I arrived at this point. It’s a unique development, I fully realize, for most artists start realistic, then move to abstract. My first paintings were nudes. Imagine a green nude on a yellow and purple background. I slid into animals, as my main subject matter, because the patterns on the animals added another creative element.
All the Creatures: Forceful, Sublime and Peaceful
Relaxed bears, majestic tigers, grand bisons, composed rhinoceroses, still hares, proud lions, graceful leopards, quirky monkeys, regal turkeys in fantastic and unnatural colors – Koller’s paintings of animals look at us, taking over the room with electrifying and dominant energy and imposing their presence at the center of a given situation.
These symbolic and surrealist portraits of animals are chosen by bold collectors all around the world, especially in Asia, Europe and the Americas to manifest often this transgressive and robust spirit that comes from the mixture of natural beauty, the cultural meaning attached to particular beasts depicted and a very subjective choice of colors picked by the artist.
Iconic Portraits of Sentient Beings, Supreme Beauties without a Reference to Time and Space
Koller has not ceased in creating his bold pieces and his solo shows were recently produced at the Fritz Gallery in Palm Beach, Florida (in January 2019) and at the Barbara von Stechow Gallery in Frankfurt Germany (in May 2019). Later this year they will be exhibited at art fairs in Monte Carlo, two in Russia and, in December, at Gallery Four Forty Four in San Francisco.
To learn more about the artist and his current practice check out: