Intimately Detailed Portraiture by Caleb John
Ventura-based painter Caleb John captures the arms, elbows, fingers, nose, lips, eyes and hair – all of the features that define a person with his intimately detailed portraiture. These pieces are seemingly suspended in the mid-air of his subject’s face, surreal and hypnotic in their hyper-realistic form.
John uses a light touch when he paints, relishing in the negative space that adds glow to a person’s face or brightness to their eyes. His paintings are the equivalent to an afternoon spent lounging in bed, memorizing the way sunlight spills across the neck or the bones that accentuate one’s elbow when bent.
John prefers to paint models that he knows personally, their features heightened and proportionally exaggerated. The paintings themselves hang at twice the size of real life, providing a fully immersive experience to the viewer. There’s nothing quite like true, intimate familiarity. Overall, the effect is like that of recalling the details of a long forgotten friend’s face – the cleft lip might stand out, but the ambiguous flow of the face’s ever-changing canvas remains surreal.
As a firm believer in the arts, John uses his brush as his extension to the device of imagination that all people possess. Without it, he says, we would be victim to the false truths that are exposed through the reality of art. “Pursue divinity,” he says, “create from the soul and the world will align, false truths will fade and the foreign idea of freedom will be real.” Caleb John’s intimately detailed portraiture rings with truth and portrays freedom and oppression both with a simple expression.