George Rouy

Oddly alluring lo-fi figuration.

George Rouy was born in 1994 in Kent, UK, and now lives and works in London.

At Auction

2018 painting Through the Window was purchased for £30,000 in a Phillips auction – more than three times its upper estimate.

Career

Still early in his career, Rouy has already exhibited internationally – notably at Foundation Cartier in Paris and X Museum in Shanghai.

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Collaborations with George Rouy

Avant Arte and George Rouy have one upcoming collaboration.

Practice overview

Mysterious figures inhabit George Rouy’s large-scale acrylic canvases. Rather than depicting specific individuals, he paints feelings and memories – half-remembered glimpses of dancing bodies in nightclubs meld with intimate personal moments. The ultra-smooth textures draw from digital culture, recalling beauty filters on social media. Rouy uses technology in his process as well, drafting compositions on the computer before projecting them onto canvas. While painting, bodies and backgrounds are built up in multiple layers but faces are often created in a single, briskly-applied coat. Medieval artists such as Jean Fouquet and Rogier van der Weyden are key influences, along with modernist painting, the Young British Artists and contemporary choreographer Sharon Eyal.

Mortality is a consistent theme for Rouy. In Keeping it for Myself (2019) a figure holds out a bleeding thumb. The open cut is a religious art historical reference: “Unlike depictions of the death of Jesus Christ where the viewer is witnessing the scene from afar. In this painting it is important that the figure is looking directly into your eyes.” The work symbolises the shortness of life, but the scene isn’t entirely sombre. Instead the artist sees it as a way to poke fun at himself – and humankind in general – for trying, in vain, to ignore the inevitability of death.

“It’s less about narratives and more about emotions – akin to life.”George Rouy