Love Never Looked So Lonely: John Meyer.

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Born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, John Meyer is known primarily as a portrait painter and landscape artist, his commissions including public figures like Nelson Mandela and F.W. DeKlerk alongside multi-piece historical series.

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But here we’ll zero in on Meyer’s intimate scenes of very real and largely unglamorized people in what look to be – at best – troubled relationships and love affairs dissolving right before our eyes, whether in penthouse suites or desolate motel rooms. That they are grim and sad, they’re beautiful nonetheless, fitting comfortably under a ‘Noir Art’ label even without a shoulder holster or smoking .45 in sight. Love never looked so very lonely to me as it does here.

More work from this artist follow in the next post.

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Romance Gone Bad.

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South African artist John Meyer became a professional painter when he turned thirty in the early 1970’s, then went on to become a much sought after portraitist and successful landscape artist. But it’s his narrative work – “enigmatic figures caught in emotional ambiguities” as his bio calls them – that caught my attention, each a poignant (albeit grimly moody) glimpse of noir-ish love affairs, or at least their aftermath. A few are shown here, and if the works remind some viewers a little bit of Jack Vettriano or a little bit of Fabien Perez, then they’re only looking at some details of settings or attitude, because each painting really is Meyer’s own unique style point of view and, like he himself says, filled with ambiguities. Any ‘period’ feel is just that…a look, only. Note some props like contemporary phones (or in painting snot shown here, laptops) and it’s clear that the images are set in a dark elsewhere that’s all now, even when it feels somehow older. I love these.

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