The Great Beyond

Joram Roukes

May. 22nd – June. 28th 2015



The Great Beyond is a new body of work by Joram Roukes touching the subjects of exploration and escapism. Having relocated from the small city of Groningen, The Netherlands to Los Angeles in 2013, Roukes draws partly from his personal nomadic experiences and touches on the wider sense of the subject as well. What lies beyond the here and now is a question many adventurous spirits are burdened with as it’s ongoing search for truth instills a restlessness and a sense of dissatisfaction. The grass clearly isn’t always greener, but the inspiration and opportunities of finding the next place can be its own reward.

The Great Beyond reflects on this concept of dissatisfaction in society, as a whole. For this show, Roukes created a series of mostly large oil paintings in his familiar collage-like, re-contextualized approach that allows him to explore his subject in a loose, but at the same time cohesive narrative.

His predominantly large scaled oil paintings are reflections of everyday life situations, observed, filtered and reassembled in a collage like way. The resulted paintings pose a fragmented yet cohesive view on today’s society and human behavior.

It is impossible to hastily pass by one of Joram Roukes’ striking canvases, as his arrestingly bright colours, skilled representations and experimental juxtapositions arouse immediate intrigue in any viewer.  But it is more than just jarring images and stirring compositions that keep us lingering in front of his pieces.  The distinct quality that transforms Joram’s work from ‘glance-worthy’ to ‘fascinating’ is perhaps best described by the indefinable tension present in every detail of his work.

Joram’s energetic canvases have an incredible liveliness that draws us into each surreal world that he constructs.  In moments of great vigour and spontaneity, Joram’s brushwork recalls the intensity of the abstract expressionists’ emotive mark-making.  In other areas, extreme control and meticulous attention is paid to familiar figurative representations tweaked with a surreal quirkiness. Joram’s capacity to seamlessly mix traditional techniques, urban influences, pop culture imagery and fantasy, displays a freedom that explores the full spectrum of what the medium of oil paint can accomplish.  Blending graffiti roots with classically trained dexterity; Joram achieves a unique and inspired visual style with which he can communicate his many observations of the Western World.   Expertly combining high and low art, Joram’s portraits comment on contemporary culture, confronting viewers with our own untamed absurdity in an engaging narrative characterized by beauty, chaos and decay.