GJ Verellen looks at the representation of the human subject within Western art history and photography for his thesis project. He investigated how they have influenced fashion and its commercial world. Photography and painting have had a long and rich history as they have influenced each other for over 200 hundred years. Through a series of portrait images based in response to paintings, Verellen explored the relationship between representation, paintings, and photography. By blurring the lines between painting and photography, he wants to challenge the viewer’s relation between the two mediums as well as that of the subject. In most of Western art history, white female subjects painted by male artists have dominated the landscape. In the majority of paintings, they are painted as passive ‘objects’ for the male gaze.
In Verellen’s work, he has worked with a diverse group of people to represent contemporary society and the globalized western world we live in to bring his thesis to life by creating images that reference painting, photography, and elements of fashion photography whether they were in front or behind the lens.
Verellen has referenced iconic paintings in my photography either by the positioning of the model, or photographic techniques. Many of his shots are inspired by a specific painting, yet the photos he created are either inspired by a specific work or have the influence of others, either consciously or subconsciously. The Images are printed on matte paper to reference a canvas feel, as well as color editing. Framing these photos in a salon-style framing with a mix of contemporary and ornate frames that include his own images and the source images creates a relation between old and new. The presentation itself looks like an art salon making the audience question the relationship between the two.
GJ Verellen is an American-Belgian-Canadian photographer based in Toronto who has been taking photos since 2017. He is working towards a bachelor’s in photography at the Metropolitan University of Toronto.
Photography allows him to express his love for beauty in everyday life as he documents exciting colors, shapes, and light. It is the simple yet intriguing interplay between form and light that GJ is inspired by and conveys in his work and expresses his creative ideas. His love for fashion and portraiture drives him to create work where he captures elegance and prestige in a truthful manner.
His goal is to photograph anything that challenges him, whether an editorial, a fine art collection, or the essence of a person.