Tomáš Němec’s first solo exhibition in New York, consists of eight paintings that indiscriminately engage figuration and abstraction by relying on a desaturated palette to create emotionally charged re-imaginings of the familiar.
Němec is an existential artist who tries to understand the world through his own experience. His work is the result of the artist’s continued investigations of the body and its surrogate forms in nature, a personal quest, a search for his own identity, his relationship to the world, and his role within society.
European literary romanticism and contemporary realism flow through the artist’s still lives, portraits, narrative and expressive paintings.
When the work tends toward abstraction, it does so with rich expressive colors or clear, monochromatic aptness, evoking a kind of cognitive dissonance.
Water Lilies (Self-portrait), 2016, shows the artist in a scene of verdant landscape, lush and detailed in such a way that he seems to merge ecstatically with his surroundings. The work creates a sense of narrative, cataclysmic and lonely. It literally suffices to look at Němec’s Water Lilies series as they are just what they are supposed to be: paint on canvas conjuring up an entire world.
Working against the grain of suppressing the nude adult male form in realist painting, Němec also renders a number of strikingly direct and candid images exposing the melancholic nature of humanity.
The artist paints from his intimate world and the care he shows for his subjects is part of the warmth that envelopes and informs them, much like Lucien Freud worked from the people that interested him and that he cared about, in rooms that he lived in and knew.
Most of Němec’s male nudes are paintings of men shown as vulnerable subjects, the way women have been shown in painting for hundreds of years. Given that his work is largely autobiographical, these include several nude self-portraits.
Tomáš Němec was born in 1986 in Policka He studied at the School of the Arts in Utrecht, Netherlands and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. He currently lives and works in Prague. The artist has exhibited in museums and commercial galleries in Prague, Czech Republic; Stuttgart, Germany; Leipzig, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Salzburg, Austria; Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium.