Reimagined Realism

Kirstine Reiner Hansen

“The ceaseless barrage of stimuli and our struggle to process life lived between tangible and digital worlds is undermining our sense of self. The fragmented universe of figures and spaces featured in my paintings is a contemplation on this conundrum.”

Artist’s Statement:

Our growing disconnectedness in contemporary life remains the underlying focus of my work. The ceaseless barrage of stimuli and our struggle to process life lived between tangible and digital worlds is undermining our sense of self. The fragmented universe of figures and spaces featured in my paintings is a contemplation on this conundrum. Ambiguous narratives are present in the interplay between my figures, sometimes inspired by a personal memory, other times by universal stories. I mix up elements that are part of the visual roots of western civilization: fashion magazines, old Hollywood movie stills and historical paintings.

After moving pieces around, my characters seem to end up lounging self-consciously, consumed with trivial everyday pursuits. Posing and gesticulating they express a sense of superiority and glamour akin to models in fashion and instagram selfies, but this image is subverted by their distorted characteristics. They, in turn, echo gestures seen in historical portraits, subjects that are draped in luxurious garments to convey status and power, pulling a thread from the past to the present and showing that nothing much changes in human behavior. To me, the beautiful fabrics and drapery, the lush colors and textures serve an additional purpose as formal elements to entice the viewer, drawing them into the picture. The interior structures are built with a nod to Picasso and Matisse’s rooms, adding large windows that blur the boundary between the sheltered interiors and the raw power of nature outside.

My artistic process has two distinct components: a digital collage followed by an oil painting. The initial photoshop collage is crucial as a visual jumping-off point for a new painting where ideas are tested and worked out, often containing 100-200 layers. It involves sourcing and collecting vast amounts of images that I rummage through to find

just the right cut-outs of hands, a suit or an appealing piece of drapery. Once I start painting, the visceral quality of the oil paint and brush work leads the original image into new directions. Within each painting there’s a great challenge and thrill in reconstructing the completely arbitrary pieces, attempting to tie it all together. Will they make sense together despite the odds?

I find that due to the implementation of well known imagery the paintings come to inhabit glimpses of subconscious familiarity while at the same time standing alone as brand new creations. My hope is that the viewer will question their own sense of self and the role that societal norms and technology play in shaping our individual identities.

– Kirstine Reiner Hansen

Kirstine Rainer Hansen was born and raised in Odense, Denmark, but has lived in the US for a large part of her life, in San Francisco, CA and Brooklyn, NY and presently on the Monterey Peninsula. She has lived in London, UK, in Gstaad, in Bern, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany. She received a BA in Design and Illustration at Design School Kolding, Denmark. Living in many different countries and having to adapt to changing environments has been both a challenge and an inspiration and it has had a deep impact on her artistic practice.

Hansen works primarily in oils. With a background in classical painting, she utilizes both old master and abstract painting techniques resulting in a visually disrupted style. She often makes her own oil paints from dry pigments. She finds inspiration in renaissance paintings as well as the modernists, especially surrealism and cubism.The painterly puzzle of disparate elements from various art historical and photographical sources, layered and combined and employing a multitude of painterly effects, presents her with the necessary artistic challenge to create unexpected visual narratives.

Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries in the US and Europe, most recently in 2023 with a 2 person show at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, CA and in 2022 with a 2 person show at G-allery in Berlin, Germany. In 2012 she received the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation Grant and was twice a semi-finalist for the Outwin Boocheever Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian. Her work has been featured in various magazines including Juxtapoz, Katlblut and The Asian Curator Magazines, as well as being featured in the book ‘Disrupted Realism – Paintings For A Distracted World,’ 2019 by John A. Seed who coined the phrase for the art movement, Disrupted Realism. Her work is featured in the German feature film ‘Meaning of a Ritual’ by Natalie MacMahon, Berlin 2023.

Kirstine Reiner Hansen

Dress Rehearsal
Kirstine Reiner Hansen

Kirstine Reiner Hansen