Berlin-based painter Sebastian Maas challenges expectation, perception and identity in his figurative tableaus and portraiture. Collage-like, his paintings merge the art canonical with the trappings of the modern world. Meanwhile, reconstituted faces (with software via which he merges in his own face) stare questioning or are blotted out Baldessari-like; left expressionless.
The artist’s interest and education in biology and neuroscience permeates his oeuvre. Much as his unique medium of oil on stretched truck tarpaulin appears to challenge our perceptions around fine art (and what it should be made from), the figures Maas portrays question our engrained bias around identity. In triggering and jarring the viewer, his works both force recognition that we have a predisposed view, and ask us to question it.
“I am interested in the decision process: Where to emphasise what contrast. That can be colour, style, painted fields reacting to each other, but also contextual contrasts; of gender, skin-colour, emotional attraction/repulsion, and the use of cliché”