Forget the old saying "the eyes are the window to the soul." In Simon Hennessey's hyperrealistic paintings eyes are kaleidoscopic mirrors warping and reflecting the world around them. (Trust us, it's way cooler.)
We've spent too much time ogling Hennessey's uber-detailed, close-ups of eyes, sunglasses and the reflections housed within them. While all too often realistic paintings are a matter of exact replication, Hennessey's unusual approach incorporates imagined urban worlds into the glasses lenses, giving the viewer a chance to see through the eyes of the painting's subject. Epic bridges, sun-dappled parks and brightly colored graffiti make for ghostly appearances, plastered on the sunglasses.
Although it clearly has an obsessive following on this site, hyperrealism has often been criticized for its lack of conceptual rigor, despite the remarkable technique involved.
Hennessey's project diverges from the usual agenda of direct translation from photograph to canvas. "I do not adhere to a true mimetic depiction of a photograph, I use the camera only as a source to assist me with gathering information," Hennessey wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.
"My working method involves utilizing multiple source photographs and then throughout the painting process I add or remove detail, alter depth, add textures, form and colour values through judging their relationship within the painting as it evolves, this process allows me to take ownership of the artwork and make it individual and original. Through constructing my own interpretations of a reality it results in blurring the boundaries between what is real and what is made up, it presents the viewer with a simulation of reality."
What do you think of Hennessey's work? Does his incorporation of a warped reality add artistic merit to what many see as a conceptually dead artistic style? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.