Surreal Gaming Art: Qin Tan's Post-Digital Pop Paintings

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Introducing from our Open Call: Qin Tan a Chinese American painter whose contemporary works explore human existence through surrealism, pop art, and gaming.

Qin Tan

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Snake and Tree, Acrylic and Oil on Canvas, 36 x 36 inches, 2023

Qin Tan

This body of work is an introspective exploration of internal dialogues and methods of expression that reflect on what it means to be human in the present day.

The artist incorporates cues from visual languages embedded within today's popular culture, digital landscapes, and computer games to capture new methods of expression that intertwine the virtual and physical realities experienced by human beings of our era.

The narratives of these paintings often revolve around symbolic stick men figures or anthropomorphic tools that explore surreal spaces of nature.

These figures can be observed with dramaticized teeth and body proportions, evoking the same exaggerated sense of self expression that is conveyed by emojis through modern electronic messages.

Subjects are characterized by their accentuated and contorted physical forms, revealing their psychological state of being and yearnings.

Being heavy with texture, yet flat in color, the artist enjoys playing with contrasting creative decisions to imbue these figures with personalities that give them a distinct sense of incongruity as well as a human-like sense of conflicted existence.

The artist further juxtaposes the frame through the use of different levels of perceptual reality in the background and other parts of the picture — some contain realistic renderings, while others are manipulated into mere geometric abstractions.

The artist's work ultimately seeks to depict the conflicting sense of truth from her own personal experiences of a physical reality that is heavily augmented by the virtual aspects of the digital world she is enveloped in. 

Images and text courtesy the artist

Images on view in gallery in order of appearance: 

  1. A Good Day, Acrylic and Oil on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches, 2022
  2. Feeling Hopeful, Acrylic and Oil on Canvas, 48 x 60 inches, 2023

Image Gallery

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