Portraits of Someone

Updated: Feb 26, 2019



The opening night of 'Portraits of Someone' took place on February 14th, 2019 at Rhodes Contemporary Art gallery, London.

A duet show featuring new bodies of work from Berlin based Russian performance artist and painter Vera Kochubey and Costa Rican contemporary painter John Paul Fauves, curated by The TAX Collection.

The show seeks to explore our place in the world, dealing with themes of the past and present - and reinterpreting innocuous faces and characters that surround us in everyday society.

Vera Kochubey’s work presents the viewer with a powerful juxtaposition - taking in the grand scale of the portraits whilst examining the intricate details and symbology embedded deeply into the works themselves. “Each painting is a character and there is a (sur)real person behind each painted face. With my art I want to transcend the physical (hyper)reality and show a metaphysical space of dreams, illusions, hallucinations, visions and phantasies.”

Vera Kochubey was born in Moscow. She graduated from the Moscow State Art School and the National Research University Moscow at the psychology department. She earned a master degree in psychoanalysis and cultural studies at International Psychoanalytic University Berlin: IPU Berlin. Her works want to impose a new kind of spirituality. Spirituality outside religious and cultural perceptions is a spirituality of one's own self. A self that becomes an element of connection through art with the Universe, through self-knowledge. Her black and white canvases are invaded by interrogative texts or statements about the concepts of transgender, feminism, gay and lesbian orientation or asexual or sexually ambiguous stylized characters. Since 2011 she lives and works in Berlin.

The majority of Kochubey’s paintings take the form of heavily symbolic portraits, often combined with brash or existential statements such as “Have you figured this life out?” or “My true will can move mountains”. The style of painting is unapologetically primitive — “primal and raw” Kochubey confirms — and she maintains that their monumental, large-scale “chose her”. Blunt, fat brushstrokes are applied to construct fierce faces reminiscent of ancient tribal masks, where jagged shapes and hypnotic vortex-like symbols take the place of eyes. According to the artist, the mismatched features and vibrant colours have earned her paintings the nickname “Picasso on acid”. Kochubey regards her paintings to be expressive, symbolic and bold, but also to be a little bit “aggressive” — something which she relates to the “punk aspect” of her personality. READ FULL BIO HERE

John Paul Fauves challenges the traditional notion of “art” itself, elevating familiar childhood characters such as Mickey Mouse, and reinterpreting them in large scale, abstract portraiture. His works deal with relatable themes such as losing one’s innocence - and he is constantly trying to examine human nature and express his ever changing interests and thoughts on pain, life, and “art.”

John Paul Fauves is a contemporary Artist from Costa Rica . His artistic journey started at a very young age after he became a student of Joaquin Rodriguez del Paso , one of the most important Costa Rican modern art tutors. John Paul spent 15 years studying and mastering his technique, and only a few years ago he finally started showcasing his work.

In his paintings he engages questions of identity as they relate to art history as well as our everyday interactions with mainstream culture and social media. Greatly inspired by modernist masters as wellas pop-artists, Fauves mixes fragments of different iconic images in vivid and colourful compositions. Of his experimental and high eclectic style, he says, “art is an expression from the soul, and the soul is somethinglimitless. This is why I am always searching for different elements to bringinto the work.” READ FULL BIO HERE

RHODES is an independent commercial art gallery located in the heart of London. Operating from a split-level boutique space that was until recently Lawrence Alkin Gallery and prior to that, originally the TomTom Gallery. RHODES's primary goal is to develop the next generation of artists through exciting and engaging exhibitions, events and exclusive publications from a breadth of talent. LEARN MORE HERE


The TAX Collection is a multi modal creative platform aimed at revolutionizing the way popular culture interacts within producer-consumer, artist-audience, and creator-user relationships. Culture stagnates around specific icons and imagery for no apparent reason; it simply just does.”

“As both consumers and creators, we have come to find that there is a loud dampening of artistic voice in popular culture. If the creator of a product is not setting a trend, they are succumbing to one. We carry the belief that all art deserves recognition, and all creativity be praised. By upholding the individual integrity of every artist, we believe we can not only change the way consumers interact with creators, but also the way they interact with the culture that is created for, and around them. LEARN MORE HERE

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