Some might consider trompe-l’oeil a strange phenomenon in art history. A capricious tendency created by an artist to bring new meaning to his artistic universe. Others consider it an intentional refined comic approach to art that is so captivating it transports you into a multidimensional world where real life and art actually coexist.
Translating literally from French as to deceive or trick the eye, trompe-l’oeil describes works whose subjects are presented so realistically that they make viewers wonder whether they are actually real. This concept was masterfully adapted by Philippe Bertho who time and again showcases his virtuoso skills at evoking different textures and creating convincing visual illusions. Mischievous, and with an exquisite technique Bertho’s work makes us question the boundaries between the painted world and ours.
His new works for Martin Lawrence Galleries continue to offer tantalizing evidence of Bertho’s master status in the trompe-l’oeil genre. He has now perfected the urban trompe-l’oeil characters that seem to emerge from nowhere to occupy a central theme in each one of Bertho’s paintings. Rich with detail and structure his new work reminds us why his masterful technique is so essentially beautiful and unreplicated.
Always a student of the arts as well as an artist, Bertho himself has observed that the techniques he perfected through formal art education in Rheims, France are the tools with which he creates images that appear real but exist only in his provocative realms.
An astronaut, an observer, a wonderer, and a playful couple all occupy Bertho’s new universe in such a relatable form that we the viewer can’t help but be captivated by the “joie de vivre” that they all exude in a universe that is so openly dimensional we can all participate.