Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Depopulated Hopper

Robert Boyd

Illustrator Dean Rohrer has been playing around with an American classic. Using Photoshop, he has been taking the figures out of Edward Hopper paintings. His thinking is formal--do the paintings work when you take the supposed subject out? It turns out they do--in fact, they look great!

Depopulated Morning Sun

Depopulated Cape Cod Morning

Depopulated A Woman in the Sun

Depopulated New York Office

Depopulated Nighthawks at the Diner

Depopulated Summer Evening

Depopulated Summertime

Depopulated Four Lane Road

With modern technology like Photoshop, an artist like Rohrer can deconstruct artworks at will, discovering something new about them by altering them. Hopper's paintings so often speak of loneliness and isolation, and depopulating them amplifies this aspect. It also forces you to look at the shapes of color with which Hopper forms his images and how simple these shapes were, how minimal, without sacrificing realism.

Seeing them all at once also gives you the feeling of looking at a depopulated world, after some calamity has taken all the people away. They are spooky, haunted images.

Rohrer has been posting these images on his Facebook page. Of course, Hopper did many paintings without any figures in them. Maybe Rohrer's next project should be to take some of the figures he excised from the paintings above and add them to the paintings without figures.


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