Alex Rennie is a young British painter. In 2005, his “Self-Portrait with Knife and Meat” was selected for the BP Portrait Award. The BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait competition in the world, promoting the very best in contemporary portrait painting. With a first prize of £25,000 the exhibition has proved the launch pad for the careers of a number of successful portrait artists. The exhibition features over fifty works from an international list of artists that together display a diverse range of styles and painterly techniques, highlighting the vitality of portrait painting today.
His works, as he confesses, are influenced by Caravaggio and show a masculine sense of power and self-confidence.
“ My work is extremely diverse and always changing. This is because nothing is more important to me than my development as an artist. Within each body of work I experiment with new techniques to further the progression of my artwork, I specially enjoy the manipulation of light, line, warmth, fluidity and high realism. I use such manipulations to create a deep atmosphere and stark illusion on a two-dimensional surface. I find the jazz subject a very interesting area to produce atmosphere and contemporary effects. More recent work such as ‘Reflection’ and ‘Sleepwalker’ deal with more surreal subject matter – incorporating the use of intense imagery and metaphor to convey powerful emotions in a static field. My painting moves between to poles of static high-realism (where the subject itself is the dynamic) and an abstract constructed of drawing and loose application of paint (where the medium becomes the dynamic). More and more drawing is a visibly rough and dynamic element in my work.
My influences are broad, they include traditional artists such as Tiepolo, Rembrandt and Louis Corinth, and more contemporary artists like Jenny Saville, Lucien Freud and Peter Doig. Over the past 2 years I have been heavily inspired by Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Goya, particularly their mastery of light to create bold illusions. My Figures advance and recede in and out of rich darkness which occupies most of the pictorial space. The characters in my paintings vary from solitary and contemplative figures to interactive small groups. Sweeping shadows and hot hues create a dynamic atmosphere.” (Alex Rennie, The Artistic Statement, Saatchi Gallery)